A Christmas tree that honors Jayme Closs and keeps hope alive that she will be brought home soon has been erected in the lobby of the Barron County Courthouse in Barron.
The county clerk of court office’s nine-person staff erected the tree to remember the 13-year-old who has been missing since Oct. 15.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said he hadn’t seen it until he arrived at the building Tuesday morning.
“It just put a smile on my face, during a frustrating time,” Fitzgerald said. “It reinforces this community’s support for law enforcement. It’s cool — it keeps hope alive. I love that there is a (present) bag at the bottom that says ‘believe’ and ‘hope.’ It’s exactly what we’ve been talking about for 45 days.”
Barron County Clerk of Court Sharon Millermon said the four offices that share the courthouse building rotate each year to determine who sets up the tree.
“Oftentimes the decorating theme is discussed at some length, but this year it was quick and obvious there is no other message more important than to believe and hope in Jayme’s safe return,” Millermon said.
Millermon said each of the workers in her office contributed ideas for the tree, as one made the tree skirt with the words “hope” written down, and others made the ribbons that are displayed throughout the tree. A ribbon on top reads “prayers for Jayme.”
One of her staff members suggested the theme.
“It was just a no-brainer — it was a wonderful idea,” Millermon said. “We have to keep the hope alive for Jayme and her family. I think about her every day and her deceased parents too. It’s changed us.”
Fitzgerald said they continue to receive and follow-up on tips, and the efforts to locate her haven’t diminished.
“I just left a meeting (Tuesday afternoon) with the FBI and (Division of Criminal Investigation),” he said.
Fitzgerald said he still believes the right tip will be found that will lead to Jayme’s whereabouts.
James and Denise Closs died of gunshot wounds Oct. 15 at their home at 1268 U.S. 8, one mile west of Barron, and Fitzgerald has ruled it a homicide. Jayme, who was believed to be home at the time, remains missing and is considered in danger. Fitzgerald believes she is still alive.
Jayme is described as 5 feet tall, about 100 pounds, with green eyes and blond-strawberry hair.
Anyone with information about what happened at the home, or if they have seen Jayme, should contact the Barron County sheriff’s office at 855-744-3879.
Cops for kids
Fitzgerald added that his staff will hold their annual “shop with a cop night” on Monday.
“This is a special night for law enforcement across the county, where we put smiles on over 80 kids as we take them shopping for their family and they get themselves something special.”