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Rusk County News


The Barron County Sheriff’s Department is announcing that with the help of Jennie-O Turkey Store the reward to bring Jayme Closs home is now $50,000.  At this time I want to thank Jennie-O and all of its employees for their cooperation during this tragic time for them with the loss of two of their employees and their willingness to help bring 13 yr old Jayme home. 
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Tip Line at 1-855-744-3879 or

Barron County (WQOW) – Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald tells News 18 that investigators have released the crime scene back to the Closs family. The investigation remains active.

Barron County (WQOW) – More than 1,700 tips have come in as investigators continue to try and figure out where missing Barron County teen Jayme Closs might be.

Very few new details are available. In a Facebook post on Thursday, Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the department has received 1,740 tips and more than 1,400 of them have been closed.

The sheriff also urged everyone to continue submitting tips to 1-855-744-3879 and


MINNEAPOLIS — The search for a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl whose parents were killed enters its 12th day Friday and investigators still haven’t said if they have clues as to what was behind the attack and suspected abduction. They have followed up on more than 1,700 tips and the FBI has offered a $25,000 reward for information that leads to Jayme Closs. But child abduction case experts say the need to find her grows more urgent with each passing day and that it’s important the public stay engaged, no matter how long it takes to find her. Here are some details:


She’s been missing since early on Oct. 15, when sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call found the door to her family’s home near Barron 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.


Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said more than 200 law enforcement officers are on the ground daily and authorities have cleared more than 1,400 leads and continue to pursue othersSome tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search , which has yet to turn up anything of value. Authorities are also seeking information on two cars — a red or orange Dodge Challenger and a black Ford Edge or black Acura MDX — that may have been near the family’s home on the night of the attack. And they are asking anyone who was on Highway 8 early on Oct. 15 to call the tipline to see if they can offer any information.

Fitzgerald said Wednesday that a new evidence team went through the house to make sure nothing had been overlooked and that it removed some items that were being processed. Authorities are also still reviewing the 911 call in which no one spoke to dispatchers. The call was made from Denise Closs’ cellphone.

Rick Thornton, a former head of the FBI in Minneapolis who is not connected to the case, said authorities are also likely interviewing witnesses and associates, examining social media accounts, computers and other devices, and analyzing cellphone traffic from the area. He said the real challenge for investigators is prioritizing what leads might be most likely to bear fruit. Another challenge is managing it all and making sure that someone takes a look at what is found to try to connect the dots.

Thornton also said investigators might know more than they are releasing to the public, and that they need to strike a balance between keeping the public engaged and protecting the investigation.


Thornton said in any criminal probe, the first 48 hours are critical to getting a quick resolution. But no matter how long it takes, investigators will not give up on missing children cases and will be motivated to follow any lead that comes in.

“You don’t lose hope on these things,” Thornton said. “You keep following the leads that come up.” He said it only takes one lead to go from an unsolved case to “all of a sudden you are on the fast track to a resolution.”

Thornton led the FBI’s Minneapolis office when the remains of Jacob Wetterling, a boy who was kidnapped in Minnesota in 1989, were found in 2016. He said that despite the decades of not knowing what happened, he always held out hope that Jacob would be found alive.

Bob Lowery, vice president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said: “As time goes on … it becomes more difficult to find these children, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t.”


Thursday afternoon a Ladysmith Officer responded to the Barron County jail to take custody of Izak W. Reeves, 18. He was arrested by the Rice Lake Police Department earlier on Thursday. Reeves was held on an outstanding LPD Municipal Warrant. The City Officer took Reeves into custody and transported him to the Rusk County jail.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal authorities have detained a person in connection with the mail-bomb scare that widened to 12 suspicious packages, a Justice Department official said Friday.

Bomb Package Investigation – The Clintons in Chappaqua, NY; George Soros in Katonah, NY; John O. Brennan & Robert De Niro in NY; the Obamas and Maxine Waters in Washington, DC and Los Angeles; Joe Biden in Wilmington, DE and a device intended for Eric Holder was misaddressed and sent to Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s office because her name was on the return address in Sunrise, FL / (MGN)

Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said authorities planned to announce more information at a press conference.

Earlier Friday, authorities said suspicious packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper — both similar to those containing pipe bombs sent to other prominent critics of President Donald Trump— had been intercepted.

The discoveries — making 12 so far — further spurred a coast-to-coast investigation, as officials scrambled to locate a culprit and possible motive amid questions about whether new packages were being sent or simply surfacing after a period in mail system.

The devices have targeted well-known Democrats including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

The FBI said the package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper at CNN’s address. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan via CNN in New York.

Rusk County News


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) — They were words they hoped not to say, longing to end days of agony.

On Wednesday, members of Jayme Closs’s family bore their emotion to the world.

“Not a moment goes by that we are not thinking of you and praying for you. Your family misses you so much, your sparkling eyes, your bright smile, your soft little giggles. Your dog Molly is waiting for you, she’s sleeping in your sweatshirts,” Jennifer Smith, Jayme Closs’s aunt, said during a press conference at the Barron County Judicial Center.

“Jayme, we need you hear with us to fill that hole we have in our hearts. We all love you to the moon and back and we will never stop looking for you.”

Wednesday marked ten days since Jayme disappeared and her parents – James and Denise Closs – were found shot to death in their home along U.S. Highway 8. During the press conference, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a $25,000 reward was being offered in connection to finding Jayme.

Since the investigation began, authorities have seen about 1,550 tips come in and 1,200 have been closed out. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said an uptick in tips has happened since info on two vehicles of interest was released two days ago – one, a 2008-2014 red or orange Dodge Challenger; the other, either a 2006-2010 black Ford Edge or a 2004-2010 black Acura MDX.

There was also a return Wednesday to the home where Jayme’s parents were found shot to death, as a new group of investigators examined the crime scene.

“We’ve had people here for days and that also bring them up to speed with the case. So when that comes in, we look at that. We said ‘Let’s try this piece of evidence.’ and then, our evidence team goes over it,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said no new ground searches for the Barron area were being announced, but stressed the work to find Jayme Closs goes on.

“There’s 200 people in this building behind me combing over evidence still, looking at things that were picked up (Tuesday), looking at video, continuing to review that 911 call,” he said. “I know we keep going back to that, but any tip can bring Jayme home at any one time. I can’t stress that enough.”


Wednesday morning just before 9 AM, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a male subject reporting that one of his dump truck drivers reported the truck was on its side ¼ mile South of Highway 8 on Sawdust Road. According to the report, the driver was out of the vehicle and there were no injuries. A Rusk County deputy, Ladysmith ambulance and the Bruce Fire Department responded to the scene. The DNR was contacted for a sludge spill but the DNR advised that Thompson’s was responsible for the clean up. No other information was available.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office at about 4:35 PM Wednesday, received a call from Chippewa County advising that they received a call of a structure fire at a location on 305th Avenue, Sheldon. Rusk County called the residence and a female advised that a shed was on fire and that there was no one in the shed. The fire was located in Ruby Township in Chippewa County. The Sheldon Fire Department and the Ladysmith ambulance were called to the scene. Sheldon firemen were at the scene for about 40 minutes.


MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump has skipped some of his usual attack lines at a campaign rally in Wisconsin.

Trump certainly wasn’t tame as he addressed thousands at an airport hangar on Wednesday while law enforcement officials nationwide scrambled to find those responsible for a series of attempting bombings targeting current and former Democratic officials and CNN.

But Trump skipped his usual attack on what he calls the “fake news” media for not showing enough of his crowds.

And he declined to go after his potential 2020 rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump sometimes likes to talk about how he would beat Biden in a fistfight.

Trump also refrained from mentioning his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, two of his most frequent punching bags. Both women were both targeted by suspicious packages.

MOSINEE, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump says he’s trying to be nice as he criticizes Sen. Tammy Baldwin at a Wisconsin rally following a series of attempted bombings on high-profile Democratic officials and CNN.

Trump says he’s holding back his most fiery rhetoric because he’s “trying to be nice.”

Trump opened the rally by calling for a new era of civility in politics following the attempted attacks on former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, CNN and others. And he said those in the political arena must “stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.”

Trump is in the state campaigning for Republicans, including Gov. Scott Walker.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) — Investigators said they seized nearly one pound of meth and more than $15,000 from a suspected methamphetamine dealer.

Ngia Vang, 31, is in custody in the Marathon County Jail on $100,000 cash bond.

A search warrant was executed at his home on the 800 block of Lincoln Avenue in Wausau on Oct. 18 after a confidential informant reported seeing two baseball-sized balls of meth.

Officers discovered drugs within the home’s walls. Officers also found a backpack containing $10,000. More than $5,000 was also found throughout the home.

Vang’s charges carry a stiffer penalty due to the proximity of alleged drug-dealing near a school.

He’s scheduled to learn Oct. 31 if his case will head to trial.


Rusk County News


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) — A news conference is scheduled in Barron County in regards to the case of missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald is slated to hold the conference at 4 p.m. To watch it when it airs live (at 4 p.m.), click here.

Tuesday, 2,000 volunteers helped search a three mile radius near the Closs family home for any signs of her disappearance. Tuesday night, Fitzgerald said that none of the items collected so far are tied to Jayme’s disappearance.

Jayme was reported missing after deputies responded to a 911 call to her home near Barron on Oct. 15, where they found both of her parents murdered.

The Barron County Sheriff’s Office is still asking for anyone with information to contact their tip line at 1-855-744-3879 or

BARRON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin sheriff thanked volunteer searchers who helped canvass the area surrounding the home of a 13-year-old girl who is believed to have been abducted and whose parents were killed.

Jayme Closs age 13, is missing after her parents were found dead at their Wisconsin home, Photo Date: Undated / Photo: FBI Milwaukee / (MGN)

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a Facebook post Tuesday that investigators were assessing several items that volunteers found during an expanded search for clues that might lead them to Jayme Closs, but none of them seemed to be linked to her disappearance as of Tuesday evening.

As many as 2,000 volunteers from in and around the Closs family’s hometown of Barron and as far away as the Minneapolis area, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) to the southwest, heeded the call for volunteer help. They walked through swamps, cornfields and woods in chilly weather.

“The outpouring of hope and support from the community and law enforcement has been overwhelming,” Fitzgerald said, adding that Jayme is believed to still be missing and endangered.

Fitzgerald said authorities had received more than 1,400 tips as of Tuesday and had closed 1,100 of them while continuing to work the others. Some of those tips led authorities to conduct Tuesday’s expanded search.


Tuesday afternoon an agent from Probation requested the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office to do a welfare check on a subject. According to the police log, the subject has a Chippewa County body only warrant and a DOC warrant. After an investigation, the probation agent advised Rusk County that she is confirming the Probation warrant and placed a hold on the female subject.

A Rusk County deputy at about 11:30 PM Tuesday, served a warrant at a residence on County Highway VV, Sheldon. According to the report, the deputy was in contact with the subject. After an investigation, Probation and Parole was contacted for the warrant and said the warrant was valid. The subject was taken into custody and transported to the Rusk County jail.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — President Donald Trump makes a campaign visit to Wisconsin with Republicans growing increasingly nervous about the prospects of Gov. Scott Walker winning a third term.

Trump on Wednesday returns to a rural part of the state he won by double digits in 2016. Mosinee is far from the conservative Milwaukee suburbs where his support is weaker. But it’s in an area where Walker and Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir will need to do well to win close races.

Vukmir hopes Trump’s visit will bolster support among people “we want to be sure to come out and vote.” Polls show Vukmir trailing Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Trump’s visit comes after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied in Milwaukee on Monday. Former President Barack Obama is due in the city on Friday.

The U.S. Secret Service has intercepted a bomb that was addressed to Hillary Clinton and also discovered a possible explosive that was sent to former President Barack Obama.

Also Wednesday, a police bomb squad was sent to CNN’s offices in New York City and the newsroom was evacuated because of a suspicious package.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that investigators believe the explosive that was discovered near the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York, is linked to one found Monday at the compound of liberal billionaire George Soros.

The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said one of the packages had the return address of Rep. Deborah Wasserman Schultz, an ironic reference to the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

The package addressed to Obama was intercepted Wednesday by Secret Service agents in Washington.


Rusk County News


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU)- The search for the missing Barron teen Jayme Closs is underway Tuesday morning.

Monday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald asked for the public’s help to have 2,000 volunteers search the area. Our reporter on scene says cars were lining Highway 25, bumper-to-bumper as hundreds of people poured into the area to help.


Monday morning at about 9:30, a male subject came to the LEC lobby reporting that his 2000 Saturn car was missing from his home located on West Pine Avenue, Bruce. According to the report, the last time he saw the vehicle was at 8:30 PM Sunday night. The subject noticed the vehicle missing Monday morning at 9 AM. The case is under investigation.

A Ladysmith Officer Monday evening at 7 PM, received a tip that Kevin R. Kriz JR., was at a location on West 4th Street North in Ladysmith. The Officer knew Kriz had an active Rusk County and Ladysmith Police Department Warrants. The Officer located Kriz at this location and after the warrants were confirmed, Kriz was arrested and transported to the Rusk County jail.

In Rusk County news from the past weekend, Friday night just before 8 PM, a caller advised the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that a tree was in the roadway on County Highway J, Ladysmith. According to the report, the caller advised he hit the tree with his vehicle and there was damage to his vehicle. There was no injury and the vehicle was driveable.

Friday night at about 11:30 PM, the Ladysmith Police Department was notified from a call from an individual advising he has a combine on fire at a location on Main Valley Road, Tony. The Ladysmith Fire Department and a Ladysmith Officer responded to the scene. The City Officer attempted to put the fire out with an extinguisher but was unable to do so. The fire was reported on private property and the Fire Department was at the scene and extinguished the fire.

A male subject at about 9:30 PM Sunday, advised the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that someone hit the guardrail at a location on Highway 40, Bruce, spun around and headed South bound. According to the report, there was a lot of debris and the caller had a license plate. A few minutes later Rusk County dispatch received another call from this location and advised someone stopped at their house and said there was more debris from the car further down the Road South. The case is under investigation.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – (PRESS RELEASE) This week Attorney General Brad Schimel and U.S. Attorneys for Wisconsin Scott Blader and Matthew Krueger are hosting a major summit on fighting opioid and meth abuse with more than 500 attendees expected from around Wisconsin. Attorney General Schimel also invites all Wisconsinites to do their part in preventing the misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers and other pharmaceuticals by taking their unwanted medications, both prescription and over the counter, to Drug Take Back Day locations on Saturday, October 27, 2018.

“For nearly four years, I’ve partnered with the U.S. DOJ, local law enforcement, medical personnel, and treatment providers to fight the opioid epidemic, and now the meth epidemic,” said Attorney General Schimel. “To win this fight, we have to use treatment, prevention, and enforcement equally. Between this summit and Drug Take Back Day on October 27, this week we are having a concentrated, statewide push against the drug epidemic.”

The summit, entitled “Making Progress through Collaborations,” will focus on bringing together the people, from across Wisconsin, who all have a hand in fighting the opioid and meth epidemics. That group of people includes local public health agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders, hospital personnel, social services, correctional personnel, prevention and intervention workers, prosecutors, treatment providers, victim advocates, social workers, school administrators, teachers, community groups, faith-based leaders, and government officials. More than 500 people are expected to attend, in order to share information across sectors to better target drug traffickers, prevent drug abuse, reduce overdoses, and establish new pathways to recovery.

Rusk County News


A 911 dispatch log released by the Barron County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by CNN shows that the 911 call was made from the phone of Denise Closs the night of the double homicide in Barron County.

According to the log, the door of the home, east of Barron, was kicked in and multiple rounds were spent. Initially, the log referred to the incident as a suicide; however, that was changed to indicate it as a homicide after 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning.


Shortly after 5 PM Thursday, a theft complaint was reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. A male subject advised that his 2007 Polaris 700 4 wheeler was stolen from his cabin at a location on Helena Drive, Conrath. The case is under investigation.

Rusk County dispatch at about 12:10 Thursday afternoon received a 911 call advising of a two car accident on West 9th Street South, and Lindoo Avenue, Ladysmith. According to the report, there was no road blockage or injury. After an investigation, a citation was issued to a subject for failure to yield and the other driver for insurance violation.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Tony Evers are meeting for the first of two debates ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Walker and Evers are locked in a tight battle for governor with the election just over two weeks away. The debate Friday is hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association with a second and final one planned for Oct. 26.

Walker is seeking to become only the second governor in Wisconsin history elected to a third term. Evers is the state superintendent who argues Walker has failed the state and should be replaced.

Walker says now is not the time to turn back and has promised not to seek a fourth term should he win.

The candidates have been arguing over taxes, roads, education, health care and a host of other issues.


Eau Claire (WQOW) – The Mega Millions lottery has reached nearly $1 billion. Office lottery pools start to become popular during this time, but before you jump into a lottery with your co-workers, lawyers have some advice for you.

Attorney’s at Hertel Law S.C. said the first approach is legality: they recommend ticket owners should share prize money equally, and it should say so in a signed agreement between each person participating. It is also recommended if there are employees not present at work at the time of the lottery pool agreement, they should be notified by email there’s a work pool. The employer’s human resources department should be notified of an office lottery pool too.

“It’s not worth ruining a workplace or friendships by having a misunderstanding that turns out to become a court case,” said Harry Hertel, attorney and president of Hertel Law S.C. “As much as we lawyers I think are involved in litigation we have also have a role in trying to avoid if we can by giving good advice, and I think the good advice is to make sure you got an agreement that everybody understands.”

Hertel said those who participate in an office pool lottery should look at the lottery no differently than playing fantasy football, and greed should never be the motive.

Rusk County News


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) — We now know the deaths of James and Denise Closs have been ruled a homicide, and the search is still ongoing for their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme Closs.

More than 48 hours after an Amber Alert was issued for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, the search continues for the missing Barron teen.

“We want to bring Jayme home and put that that smile back in her family’s hands,” says Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald. “Every second does count. That’s why we do things like this.”

The death of her parents James and Denise now ruled a double homicide by gunshot, “We believe Jayme was in the home at the time of the homicides, and we believe she is still in danger,” adds Sheriff Fitzgerald.

The 911 call early Monday Morning had no clear communication. Deputies arrived just 4 minutes after the call ended, but there was no sign of Jayme.

With little information, still so much remains unclear to the Barron County community.

“Came out here to find out what’s going on,” says Chris Thom of Rice Lake.

With few leads, Sheriff Fitzgerald is asking that same community for help.

The case hitting home to Shawn Dueholm, that’s exactly what he did,

“The other day I was at home and I just decided to hop on my 4-wheeler and go for a ride,” he says.

With over 400 tips pouring in, Sheriff Fitzgerald is stressing you’ll never know if that tip will help, unless you make the call.


Just after 4 PM Wednesday, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a call advising that there appeared to be smoke coming from under a railroad car at the railroad yard East of Tony. The Ladysmith Fire Department was called to the scene. According to the report, the fire department advised that the CN Railroad was cutting metal which must have started to burn on a railroad tie. CN was no longer in the area and the train car was not loaded with logs. A small fire was under the railroad car and the fire was put out.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant at a residence on Highway 27, Ladysmith. After an investigation, a male and female subject were taken into custody. Probation and Parole was contacted and placed a hold on both subjects. The subjects were transported to the Rusk County jail.

Wednesday morning the Ladysmith School District requested a K-9 search of the grounds for drugs. According to the report, no illegal drugs were found by the K-9 Units.

At about 8:30 PM Wednesday night, a Ladysmith Officer and a Rusk County deputy responded to Walmart on a report that two males were fighting inside of Walmart. According to the report, one subject had left the building before officers arrived but was taken into custody a short time later. The male that left the store was described as wearing a Gray hoodie and was bleeding from the mouth. The other subject had stayed at the store with employees and was later taken into custody by officers once on the scene. The two subjects were arrested, Charlie J. Meisegeier, 32, and Dennis M. Couture, 31, for Disorderly Conduct.

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. – (WBAY)- A giant pumpkin weighing more than two thousand pounds might be among the biggest in the world according to the couple who grew it.

Giant pumpkin
Deb Gantner’s giant pumpkins can be seen along Highway 44 midway between Oshkosh and Ripon (WBAY photo)

The pumpkin is now on display along highway 44 in Winnebago County between Oshkosh and Ripon.

It’s causing lots of drivers to slow down.

Every fall pumpkins are a popular sight, but in this particular patch a group of three overshadows the rest — with the biggest being especially heavy.

“This one weighed in at 2,152. Right now it is the second largest pumpkin in the state, and I believe I just looked on and I’m number eight in the world right now this year for this year’s growth,” said Deb Gantner, who grew the pumpkin.

She planted the seed for it in mid-April hoping it would get big, but nothing like this was anticipated.

Gantner told us, “I started out with four. I lost one earlier in the season, and this is the three I finished off with, and they’re all orange. They’re all Howard Dill winners, which the Howard Dill award is for the prettiest pumpkin at each weigh off, so that’s quite an accomplishment, too.”

Rusk County News


BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) — The 13-year-old girl who disappeared after her parents were found dead in Barron County, WI has been possibly spotted in Miami.

According to the Miami Police Department, the endangered juvenile, Jayme Closs, may have been spotted Monday afternoon in the area of N. W. 27 Avenue and 11 Street.

Authorities said if this was her, she was in a black Ford Explorer with a possible WI plate of I60WER.

If you have any more information, please call 911.

BARRON, Wis. (WEAU) — An AMBER Alert is issued for a missing teenage girl after her parents were found dead inside their Barron home.

Officials in Barron County say autopsies have been scheduled for James Close, 56, and Denise Close, 46. The two were found dead inside their home early Monday morning. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says while the death investigation continues, the main focus at this time is locating 13 year-old Jayme Closs, the couple’s teenage daughter.

Sheriff Fitzgerald says a 911 call came in around 1A.M. The call came from a cell phone inside the residence but it’s not known who made the call. “We could hear yelling in the background on this 911 call, not much information,” said Fitzgerald.

He says the call lasted less than a minute and the only word that can be understood is “help”.

“Deputies arrived at that address a short time after the call ended to find no one around on the outside,” Sheriff Fitzgerald says as deputies approached the house, they saw the front door was open and there was a deceased male in that front door way. Officers later found a deceased female while searching the rest of the home.

A neighbor says she and her husband heard gunshots around 12:30am. “Very loud shots, big gun and didn’t think anything of it,” said Joan Smrekar. She says she didn’t think to call police, assuming the shots were someone shooting at an animal. “There’s deer, there’s bear, you name it out here so no it didn’t really bother us to hear shots. It’s just something that we hear and with hunting season coming…,” she said.

Investigators are working on analyzing the 911 call to hopefully learn more but finding Jayme remains the priority. “We’re working with the Barron School District on this case,” said Fitzgerald.

The Department of Criminal Investigation and FBI are assisting with the case. Neighbors say the incident is alarming. Sheriff Fitzgerald says a cause of death could be released as soon as Tuesday after autopsies are complete.


Monday afternoon at 1:25 PM, a theft complaint was reported to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. According to the report, a female subject advised that her pills were stolen out of her purse at Lighthouse on County Highway 27, Ladysmith. The complainant thinks it may be one of the other residents that took them but cannot prove it. Whom ever took the pills left the empty prescription bottle. A Rusk County deputy an Ladysmith Officer responded to the scene. A female subject Lisa Bohlen had a PBT of .145. She is on several bonds that say she cannot drink alcohol. Bohlen was taken into custody for the bond violation. She was transported to the Rusk County jail.

Ladysmith Police Monday afternoon at about 4:40, received information that Matthew Skamfer was consuming alcohol at a residence on Fritz Avenue East, Ladysmith. Ladysmith Police a County deputies responded to the scene. After an investigation, Skamfer at a PBT of .035. Probation placed a hold on him and he was taken into custody and transported to the Rusk County jail.

This (Tuesday) morning at about 1:50 AM, a Rusk County deputy advised he was at a location on Park Avenue, Ladysmith, with 3 males that looks suspiscious. According to the report, Ladysmith Police were requested at the location for a bunch of juveniles that were turned over to the City Police. Citations were issued to two juveniles for underage drinking.

As required by state statute on or by October 15th of each year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has provided the certified amount each public school district will receive from the $4.656 billion appropriated for general state aid for the 2018-19 school year. This amounts to a $72.75 million increase in state general aids compared to last year. Roughly 55 percent of the state’s public school districts will receive more general state aid this school year that they did in 2017-18.

In our area, Ladysmith will receive $6,247,233 which is $174,745 less than last year. Flambeau will get $3,973,574 which is $194,712 more than last year. Bruce will receive $2,273,613 which is more than $161,044 than last year. The Lake Holcombe school district will get $203,356 which is $36,125 less than last year. Winter will receive $80,225 and that is $14,252 less than last year. Cornell will get $2,745,769 that is $37,176 down from last year. Chetek/Wey will get $2,139,748 and that is $380,101 less than last year.

Rusk County News


More sunshine is expected today through much of the work week, something that has been very hard to come by this month. The jet stream will remain from the northwest with a deep trough just to our east, up into Canada. Temperatures will remain well below average with this set up, but even though a series of fronts will be sliding down into the area, it is also a pretty dry pattern. Despite the sunshine today it will remain quite chilly. Just a few clouds in the area along with breezy northwesterly winds. Highs this afternoon will top out around 40 degrees but windchill values will feel like the 30’s. Overnight a weak front moved by to the north bringing a few extra clouds and possibly light snow to northern locations. For the most part the weather looks quiet tonight with lows in the upper 20’s and low 30’s.

Low pressure is passing by to our north and an associated front will be quickly sliding out of Canada close to our area Tuesday, leading to more breezy conditions. We’ll see a partly to mostly sunny sky tomorrow and it should be able to warm a bit more out ahead of this front with highs around 50. Moisture will be lacking, so the front is expected to slide through dry at night with some cooler air returning by Wednesday.


On Monday October 15, 2018 at 12:58am the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from a subject asking for help at 1268 Hwy 8.

When deputies arrived on scene they found two deceased adults. A 13 year old female is missing from the residence and is considered missing and endangered.

The juvenile is Jayme Closs, age 13, 5 feet tall, 100 pounds, green eyes and Blond or Strawberry hair. Anyone with information about her possible whereabouts or anyone that has contact with Jayme is asked to contact the Barron County Sheriff’s Department at 715-537-3106 immediately.

This is all the information we have at this time and more information will be released later this afternoon or as needed by law enforcement to assist with this case.


It was a fairly quiet weekend for Rusk County authorities. Saturday morning at about 9:25, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a fire call at a residence on County Highway J, Ladysmith. According to the report, a shed was on fire at this location and the shed was next to the residence. The Ladysmith Fire Department and Ladysmith ambulance were called to the scene. Ladysmith firemen were on the scene for about an hour. No other information was available.

Sunday evening just before 7 PM, a City Officer was dispatched to an address on River Avenue East to assist the Ladysmith Fire Department with a report by a 70 year subject that an outlet in her house sparked and half of her house was without power. Ladysmith firemen found that parts of the outlet melted and it sparked when a fuse was screwed back into the breaker box. The fuse was removed and the subject was told she needed to contact an electrician.

STEVENS POINT— State support for town roads would jump from 42 percent to 58 percent in the next state budget, Governor Walker announced this morning at the Wisconsin Towns Association Annual Convention in Stevens Point.

“We provided the largest amount in state history for town road aids in this state budget, and our proposal for the next budget adds even more support for Wisconsin’s towns,” said Governor Walker. “Maintaining our transportation system is a top priority, and our plan will help ensure we have a safe and reliable system for families and businesses across the state.”

General Transportation Aids (GTAs) are largely disbursed on a per mile basis for towns. The proposed increase would amount to more than $900 per mile in state funding for a total per mile disbursement of more than $3,300. This represents a 58 percent state funding level for town roads. If approved, this investment would represent the largest level of funding for town GTAs in state history. Governor Walker set the previous state record for GTAs disbursed to towns last year with the state covering $2,389 per mile which represents 42 percent of covered costs. 

The Governor recently proposed an increase in county GTAs to the highest level since GTAs were created in 1994. The proposals for county and town GTAs build on the $24 billion invested into transportation during Governor Walker’s time in office.

Rusk County News


Another cold day ahead with the upper trough remaining over the area. We may see a couple of flurries and light snow showers but nothing of significance. Some drier air should help to mix out some of the clouds, leading to a partly sunny sky this afternoon. Though it won’t be as windy, still expect breezy west winds and that will again make it feel a bit colder. Highs will be in the low 40’s…again about 20 degrees below average.

This weekend will come with some fluctuation as a clipper system will be sliding through Canada, passing to our north. As this nears, winds will shift to the southwest and it will again be breezy on Saturday. However, this should help bring some milder air back up in our direction. We will see a mix of clouds and sun as temperatures make a run for the low 50’s. The front will then slide through at night, likely dry, though a stray shower is possible. Behind this system, a quick return to northwest winds and colder weather on Sunday. We will see more clouds and it will be breezy and cold with highs dropping back to around 40.


Thursday morning at about 10 AM the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stove fire at the Village Parlor on Lake Avenue West, Ladysmith. A Rusk County deputy, the Ladysmith Fire Department and the Ladysmith ambulance responded to the scene. The fire was put out before the fire department arrived and were to disregard the call. No other information was available.

Shortly before 2 PM Thursday, a City Officer responded to Annies Hair Care on Lake Avenue East on a report of a vehicle that had struck the building. The caller that called 911 advised the vehicle did damage to the building and left. According to the report, a Rusk County deputy made contact with the subject who admitted to striking the building. The male subject stated he accidently accelerated when he thought he was braking. Xcel Energy and the Ladysmith Fire Department was contacted due to the electrical meter and wiring being struck. The owner was contacted and responded to the scene and exchanged information with the subject.

A female subject Thursday afternoon advised Rusk County authorities that someone has taken a gift card out of a sealed birthday card that was in the mail on Circle Road, Glen Flora. The complainant advised there has been several times on different occasions that this has occurred and she wants something done. According to the report, the first time something was stolen in the mail, the gift card was used by someone. The case is under investigation.

At 10;50 AM the Ladysmith Police Department received a hit and run complaint. A female subject observed a Silver vehicle strike a vehicle on East Miner Avenue and left the scene. The City Officer informed the owner of the vehicle that was struck of the information. A County deputy attempted to locate the suspect vehicle, however, no one was at the residence. The case is under investigation.

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