Since the murders, Ms. Jenderny said she spent $700 on a new alarm system and new outdoor lights that stay on all night. Her 8-year-old son now sleeps with her older son, 13. “He’s afraid to use the bathroom at night,” Ms. Jenderny said.
Longtime residents like the Closses have been joined in Barron over the last decade by refugees, many of them Somalis, who were drawn by jobs cleaning cages and slaughtering birds at the Jennie-O plant. These days, according to the mayor’s office, about 20 percent of residents have Somali heritage.
Not long after the killings and Jayme’s disappearance, members of the Somali community delivered trays of East African food to the sheriff’s office; the food was part of a flood of meals donated by residents and businesses to the officials working on the case.
“When we see in the U.S.A. the same things that we had back in our home, you fear,” said Kaltuma Hassan, 44, who was born in Somalia. She sat in the cafe she owns, Amin Restaurant, sharing dinner from a communal bowl with two of her children. “What if my children are next?”
As she spoke, her daughter, Najma Rashid, 10, stopped eating, clutched her stomach and cried out. “I’m scared!” she said. Her mother grabbed her hands. “I’m here for you.”
The investigation itself has fueled the unease here, several people said. Residents obsessively check the sheriff’s Facebook page for updates. Early on, the department asked residents to watch their neighbors for suspicious behavior. “People may act differently shortly after committing a violent act,” one post read.
Last week, a local man, Kyle Jaenke-Annis, was arrested inside the Closses’ house; officials said he had taken clothing, including underwear, that belonged to Jayme, but they also said he had been cleared of involvement in the killings and disappearance.