“Tree of Hope” Ceremony for Jayme Closs Brings Peace to Community


A Christmas tree adorned with lights and ornaments is typically a symbol of the coming holiday, but Wednesday night one tree shining bright in Barron is a symbol of hope.

Twinkling lights donned the town of Barron Wednesday night, a sign the Christmas holiday is approaching.

And while the town of 3500 will enter the season still missing three of its own, James, Denise and Jayme Closs, one tree, though lit with heavy hearts, shines brighter than the others.

“It’s the Christmas season, it’s time to believe and it’s time to bring hope,” says Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald.

“We just pray every day and we just hope for her safe return,” says Mike Closs, James’ brother.

“May this tree of hope for Jayme, filled with shining lights, be a symbol to us, to our community, that the darker it gets, the brighter light of hope shines,” says Pastor Ron Matthews.

Classmates of the Barron teen filled the tree with heartfelt messages, like “Pray for Jayme” and “Bring Jayme Home.”

And while gripping onto hope for Jayme’s safe return, lanterns were released, spreading light into the night sky.

For Barron county Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, who’s been working on the case since day one, the night brought emotions masked by tragedy.

“I haven’t smiled in a long time, so this is awesome,” says Fitzgerald.

To cap off the night, a message from Barron native and “The Voice” finalist, Chris Kroeze, praising the communities positivity, and a song “Let it Be” dedicated to Jayme during one of his previous performances.

For now the tree lit in blue, Jayme’s favorite color, and green for missing child awareness, will shine through the darkness in the hopes of bringing Jayme home.

Sheriff Fitzgerald on Wednesday said there are no breaks in the case.

As the investigation continues, the DCI and FBI are working on the case along with the Barron County Sheriff’s Office and they encourage tips to keep coming in. Over the holidays, Sheriff Fitzgerald encourages people to be aware of the behavior of friends and family. 

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