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Jayme Closs search: About 2,000 volunteers comb through swamps, cornfields; sheriff calls support 'overwhelming'

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/24/2018 David Boroff
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Video by CBS News

About 2,000 volunteers walked through swamps, cornfields and woods in chilly northern Wisconsin on Tuesday, but likely did not turn up any items linked to the disappearance of 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald thanked the throng of helpers, and called the outpouring of support from the community "overwhelming."

Fitzgerald said authorities are "assessing" the items that have been collected, but they don't appear to be connected to Jayme's disappearance. The teen has not been seen since her parents were found dead in their Barron home on Oct. 15.

While many of the volunteers lived nearby, some came from as far as 80 miles away.

"I guess I'm not doing anything different than I would hope someone would do if it was one of my loved ones in this situation right now," said volunteer Jill Robinson, who lives 60 miles away in Eleva. "I just think anytime it hits close to home like this, it just makes you think it could be you or one of our loved ones."

“It’s just so surreal being out there, you know,” Vickie Longhenry told CBS in Minnesota. “And you have your heart right here the whole time and every time it doesn’t find, you don’t find one little thing, you just you don’t want to lose hope.”

Jenny Weber, who came from Menomonie about 40 miles away, told the station: “There is a little girl missing and if it was mine I’d want the world looking for her. So I’m able to be here."

a woman sitting on a bench posing for the camera: Sheriff searching for missing Wisconsin teen believes she's still alive

Sheriff searching for missing Wisconsin teen believes she's still alive
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
The Salvation Army was responsible for making sure the volunteers had adequate food and water during the arduous search.

“Each bag had a sandwich, chips, a cookie and fruit,” The Salvation Army's Duana Bremer said, according to CBS in Minnesota. “This is really heartwarming because you’re looking at every aspect of life helping.”

The volunteers were told to walk slowly and yell "Stop!" if they saw anything notable. Video posted by TV station KMSP showed the searchers walking in a grid pattern in tall grass. They were told to look for such items as a cell phone, a weapon or a piece of clothing.

Authorities are also searching for two cars that may have been near the Closs family's home on the night of the attack. The license plates were not known.

Investigators have received 1,400 tips and had closed 1,100 of them, according to Fitzgerald.

“I can’t thank, thank the people enough for their support, their hope, their love. I believe she’s still alive. I believe she’s still out there and the hope is what we’re riding on and that’s what we’re going to go with,” the sheriff said, according to CBS in Minnesota.

Denise and James Closs will be laid to rest on Saturday.

With News Wire Services

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