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Jayme Closs, missing US teen, found alive after 87-day search | News

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A 13-year-old girl from the US state of Wisconsin, missing since her parents were discovered fatally shot in October, will be reunited with other family members on Friday, the day after she was found malnourished and dirty after apparently fleeing her captor.

Police said they had a man in custody in connection with the disappearance of Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents, James, 56, and Denise, 46, whose bodies were found in their home on October 15.

Jake Patterson, a 21-year-old Wisconsin man, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told reporters at a news conference on Friday.

“I just cried … lots of happy tears,” Jen Smith, the girl’s aunt, told ABC’s Good Morning America programme, describing when the Barron County Sheriff informed her that Jayme had been found alive.

The girl’s disappearance in October made national news and stunned her hometown of Barron, Wisconsin, population 3,400, about 144km east of Minneapolis and sparked massive searches with 1,500 volunteers scouring woods and fields in suburban Minneapolis.

A $25,000 reward was offered for her safe return.





A sign is seen in the small town of Barron, Wisconsin, where 13-year-old Jayme Closs was discovered missing in October [Jeff Baenen/AP Photo] 

A woman walking a dog found the girl and knocked on the door of a neighbour’s home and asked them to call the authorities, reported the Star Tribune daily newspaper.  





This photo provided by the Barron County Sheriff’s Department in Barron, Wisconsin shows Jake Thomas Patterson [Handout/Barron County Sheriff’s Department/AP Photo] 

“This is Jayme Closs!” the unnamed woman told Peter and Kristin Kasinskas, who live around 14km east of Gordon, Wisconsin. “Call 911!” 

Gordon is located around 100km north of Barron, Closs’s hometown. 

The paper described her as thin and dirty with matted hair and wearing shoes that did not fit.

“‘She’s talking, she’s doing very well,’ they said,” Smith told Good Morning America. Smith said she would see Closs on Friday afternoon.

Late Thursday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme had been found in Gordon, but he had few other details.

“We promised to bring Jayme home and tonight we get to fulfil that promise,” Fitzgerald said in a statement, thanking the community.

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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