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Barron Co. shuts down around-the-clock commander center in search for missing teen

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Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald spoke on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, during a news conference about 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who has been missing since her parents were found dead in their home near Barron, Wis.
Evan Frost | MPR News

The Barron County Sheriff's Office said Thursday it has shut down its around-the-clock command center set up 18 days ago to organize the search for a missing 13-year-old after her parents were found shot to death in the family's northwestern Wisconsin home. 

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald called the move a transition "from a 24/7 reactive operation to a more deliberate and methodical effort to progress the investigation," on the department's Facebook page. "This is based on a declining number of tips."

Numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies tracked down and closed 1,975 of 2,100 tips the command center has received since Closs went missing. The case has garnered national attention and put Jayme on the  FBI's missing person's list.

Jayme Closs
This undated photo provided by the FBI shows Jayme Closs. Authorities say that Closs went missing after her parents were found dead at their home near Barron, Wis., on Monday, Oct. 15, 2018.
Photo courtesy FBI

"We will continue to fully investigate those remaining tips and new information we receive going forward. This case remains our number one priority and we will have agents from both the FBI and DCI continuing to support our local investigators until we bring Jayme home," Fitzgerald wrote on the post. 

Authorities have said little in its ongoing investigation in the shooting deaths of James Closs, 56, and his wife, Denise Closs, 46. Police were called to their home on Oct. 15 after someone called 911 from Denise Closs' cell phone. 

A 2008-2014 red-orange Dodge Challenger
A 2008-2014 red-orange Dodge Challenger is one of the vehicles of interest in the search for missing Wisconsin teen, Jayme Closs. Courtesy Barron County Sheriff's Department
Courtesy Barron County Sheriff's Department

Fitzgerald has twice organized large-scale searches in the rural area about 90-minutes from the Twin Cities for any evidence related to Jayme's disappearance.

About a week after her disappearance, Fitzgerald  released photos of two vehicles  they say were near her family's home about the time of the shootings and her disappearance. They were described as: A red or orange Dodge Challenger, with model year between 2008 and 2014 and either a 2006 to 2010 black Ford Edge or a 2004 to 2010 black Acura MDX.

A 2004-2010 black Acura MDX is one of the vehicles of interest.
A 2004-2010 black Acura MDX is one of the vehicles of interest in the search for missing Wisconsin teen, Jayme Closs. Courtesy Barron County Sheriff's Department
Courtesy Barron County Sheriff's Department

Investigators did not have a license plate number or state on the vehicles. They have not said if they received any pertinent information about either vehicle.

Fitzgerald emphasized in his Facebook post that police are continuing to seek and investigate tips. 

"Again, 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. 

The FBI also offered a $25,000 reward for information that can help find Closs.

Tips are still being taken at 1-855-744-3879 or jaymetips@co.barron.wi.us