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Ground search for missing Wisconsin girl scaled back

BARRON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin authorities are scaling back their ground search for a missing 13-year-old girl whose parents were shot dead, saying on Wednesday that their investigation into Jayme Closs’ abduction is entering a new phase.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a Facebook post that the search for Jayme remains his first priority and authorities will continue to follow up new leads. But he said the number of tips coming in has decresaed, so authorities are going from running a round-the-clock operation to employing more methodical investigative procedures.

“I want to reassure the great residents of Barron County and everyone else across the nation who continue to support and follow this case that we have left no stone unturned,” Fitzgerald said.

Jayme has been missing since early on Oct. 15, when sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call found that the door to her family’s home near Barron had been kicked in and her parents, James and Denise Closs, shot dead inside. Investigators believe Jayme was abducted and ruled her out as a suspect in her parents’ killings.

Fitzgerald said authorities have received more than 2,100 tips in the case. He said authorities have spent the past 18 days going over information from social media platforms, phone records, family members, friends and people who worked with Jayme.

“They have worked with passion, determination and resilience to solve this case and bring Jayme home. I am so proud of each and every one of them,” he said.

He thanked people who had provided investigators with meals and submitted tips, and volunteers who helped search for Jayme. He encouraged others to continue providing tips that might lead investigators to her.

“Just because the posture of our operations center has transitioned, does not mean the tips should stop. We still have a team on-call, to handle them as they come in. Please continue to call in your tips — there is a tip out there that will help us solve this case and bring Jayme home,” he wrote.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to Jayme.

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