Madison, Jan 11(AP/UNB) — A 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed has been found alive in a rural town about an hour from her home, authorities said Thursday.
The Barron County Sheriff's Department said on its Facebook page that Jayme Closs has been located and that a suspect was taken into custody. Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme was expected to be reunited with her family Thursday night.
Fitzgerald said authorities in Douglas County, about 70 miles north of Barron County, located the girl. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in the Town of Gordon at 4:43 p.m. Thursday, and that a suspect was taken into custody 11 minutes later.
Neither statement gave any further information about the suspect. Jayme's grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Jayme was being treated at a hospital.
Sue Allard, Jayme's aunt, told the Star Tribune that she could barely express her joy after learning the news Thursday night.
"Praise the Lord," Allard said between sobs. "It's the news we've been waiting on for three months. I can't wait to get my arms around her. I just can't wait."
The Barron County sheriff's office plans to hold a news conference Friday morning to discuss the case. Gillian Drummond, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Leonard Peace, a spokesman for the FBI in Wisconsin, declined comment Thursday evening. Both agencies have been involved in the search for Jayme.
Jayme Closs has been missing since her parents, James and Denise Closs, were found shot to death Oct. 15 in the family's home near Barron. Investigators said Jayme was quickly ruled out as a suspect.
Detectives pursued thousands of tips, watched dozens of surveillance videos and conducted numerous searches in the effort to find Jayme. Some tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search on Oct. 23 but it yielded no clues.
Fitzgerald said in November that he kept similar cases in the back of his mind as he worked to find Jayme, including the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was taken from her Salt Lake City home in 2002, when she was 14 years old. She was rescued nine months later with the help of two witnesses who recognized her abductors from an "America's Most Wanted" episode.
"I have a gut feeling she's (Jayme's) still alive. I've always been a glass half-full kind of guy," Fitzgerald said at the time.
The Town of Gordon lies about 40 miles south of the Lake Superior shoreline and 65 miles north of Barron, where the Closs family lived. Gordon is home to about 645 people.
Town Chairman Denny Kline said Jayme was found about six miles east of town. He described the area as a small-town development with single-family, cabin-like homes.
He said he first learned Jayme had been found while listening to a police scanner, adding that he heard Jayme was walking down the road and someone stopped near her.
Kline said he heard over the scanner that Jayme told them who she was and they brought her to their home."A lot of people were very concerned, did a lot of praying and all that," he said. "Prayers were answered, for finding her, anyway."
The Associated Press was not able to verify Kline's account with authorities late Thursday. The non-emergency line at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office rang unanswered and Sheriff Thomas Dalbec didn't respond to an email.
Barron Mayor Ron Fladten said Thursday night he hadn't heard any details about Jayme's discovery yet but was overjoyed at learning she is alive.
"There was a lot of discouragement because this took quite a while to play out," Fladten said. "A lot of people have been praying daily, as I have. It's just a great result we got tonight. It's unbelievable. It's like taking a big black cloud in the sky and getting rid of it and the sun comes out again."
He acknowledged that Jayme may not be the same person she was before she disappeared.
"I hope that she's in good shape," the mayor said. "She's no doubt been through just a terrible ordeal. I think everybody wishes her a good recovery and a happy life going into the future."
The notification that Jayme had been found came just four hours after Fitzgerald had taken to Twitter to debunk a report that she had been found alive near Walworth County. Douglas County, where Jayme was found, is hundreds of miles northwest of Walworth County.
Washington, Jan 11 (Xinhua/UNB) -Some US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria in recent days, US media reported on Thursday.
"Some cargo has already moved," CNN quoted an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation as saying.
The official did not reveal detailed information as to what the cargo was or whether it had been moved out by aircraft or ground vehicles.
The recent cargo withdrawal is reportedly intended to show the progress of the Syria withdrawal plan to U.S. President Donald Trump by the Pentagon.
Trump said earlier this week that US troops would be withdrawn from Syria "at a proper pace," while at the same time continuing the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
Currently, there are about 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria.
On Dec. 19, the White House said it would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria after claiming victory in the fight there against the IS. Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who clashed with Trump over the withdrawal issue, signed the withdrawal order days later before leaving office.
Seattle, Jan 11(AP/UNB) — A Seattle TV station has fired an editor after airing video footage of President Donald Trump's Oval Office address on immigration that appears to be altered.
FOX affiliate Q13 broadcast video from the Tuesday night speech that showed a more orange-toned Trump with his tongue hanging out languidly from his mouth after making a statement.
The video's filtered colors look more saturated and the tongue appears doctored. Mynorthwest.com posted side-by-side videos showing the discrepancies.
Q13 news director Erica Hill said: "This does not meet our editorial standards and we regret if it is seen as portraying the president in a negative light."
Hill also confirmed on Thursday that the station investigated the incident and fired the editor involved.
Trump in his televised address had urged for border wall funding amid the federal government shutdown that's lasted nearly three weeks.
Washington, Jan 11 (AP/UNB) — Members of Congress called for the protection of press freedom around the world Thursday as they honored a U.S.-based Saudi columnist who was killed inside his country's consulate in Turkey in October.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia were among those attending an event at the Capitol marking 100 days since the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Pelosi said Congress is committed to seeing that the people responsible for his killing are held accountable.
"We must honor our moral responsibility to safeguard the lives and liberties of journalists both at home and abroad," she told a room of lawmakers, journalists and activists.
"If we decide that commercial interests should override the statements that we make and the actions that we take then we must admit that we have lost all moral authority," she said.
Khashoggi wrote op-ed columns for The Washington Post that were critical of the government of his native Saudi Arabia and his killing has strained the decades-long ties Saudi Arabia enjoys with the United States. Post Publisher Fred Ryan also was at the event.
Pelosi called on the U.S. to stand up to threats against journalists everywhere and pledged that U.S. lawmakers would work as long as it takes until there is justice for Khashoggi.
As lawmakers have turned up pressure on the U.S. to punish the kingdom, Trump Administration officials have argued Saudi Arabia serves as a bulwark in combating aggression from Iran that threatens the United States.
Khashoggi, 59, entered the consulate Oct. 2 as his fiancée waited outside.
Saudi Arabia denied for weeks that Khashoggi had been killed but later changed its story and ultimately acknowledged the brutal slaying.
The kingdom indicted 11 people over the killing and announced last week that it will seek the death penalty against five of them.
Khashoggi's body, believed to have been dismembered after his killing, has yet to be found.
Washington, Jan 11(AP/UNB) — The Trump administration is considering using billions in unspent disaster relief funds earmarked for areas including hurricane-pounded Puerto Rico and Texas and more than a dozen other states to pay for President Donald Trump's border wall as he weighs signing a national emergency declaration to get it built without Congress.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to comb through its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds that Congress earmarked last year, to see what money could be diverted to the wall as part of a declaration. That's according to a congressional aide and administration official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
It is the latest sign that the administration is laying the groundwork for a possible emergency order as negotiations between Trump and congressional Democrats to reopen the partially shuttered government have ground to a halt. Trump is demanding billions for his wall that Democrats won't give him. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are set to miss paychecks Friday.
Trump on Thursday gave his strongest public indication yet that he is leaning toward an emergency declaration as he traveled to the Texas border to continue to press his case for the wall.
Trump told reporters as he left the White House that he was still holding out hope for a deal, but that if it "doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely."
Todd Semonite, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, was traveling with Trump on Thursday. The Army Corps of Engineers directed questions to the Pentagon, which directed questions to Congress.
Nearly $14 billion in emergency disaster relief funds have been allocated but not yet obligated through contracts for a variety of projects in states including California, Florida and Texas and in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico that have been ravaged by recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, according to the aide familiar with the matter.
The money funds a variety of projects, mostly flood control to prevent future disasters.
A second official with knowledge of the proposal said it would fund construction of about 315 miles (500 kilometers) of border barrier. Right now, barriers blanket about one-third of the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border with Mexico.
Defense Department officials had already been combing data on more than $10 billion in military construction projects to determine how much of it would be available for emergency spending this year.
Officials have estimated that roughly one-quarter to one-third of the money, or $2.5 billion to $3 billion, could be available — less than the $5.7 billion Trump is seeking. The majority has also already been obligated — meaning that it has been spent or a contract has been signed and there would be penalties for cancellation.
Regardless of where the money is found, an emergency declaration would draw immediate legal challenge from Democrats, who have accused Trump of trying to manufacture a crisis at the southern border to justify his wall. Critics have said the move would be an unconstitutional abuse of emergency powers. Trump said Thursday that his lawyers have told him he has the "absolute right."
Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised immediate concerns over shifting funds that have already been approved by Congress for projects in states across the nation.
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he has been hearing from lawmakers in recent days concerned that Army Corps projects in their states could be canceled or postponed.
"If they drag the money out of here," Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, "a lot of members will have problem with it."
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is "a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall."
He said the Army Corps works on dams, levees and other projects across the nation and has an enormous backlog of unfunded needs. "It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy" to divert the money to the border wall, he said.
And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said in a statement that it would be "beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens' lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump's foolish, offensive and hateful wall."
"Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won't fall for it," she said.