Jan 12, 2019, 6:16 PM ET

'Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever,' family of Wisconsin girl who escaped man who allegedly killed her parents


New photos released Saturday of Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who spent 88 days in captivity after being abducted by her parent's alleged killer, show her smiling and cuddling with her dogs and posing for a selfie with an aunt who had prayed for her safe return.

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"Jayme had a pretty good night sleep," Jayme's overjoyed aunt, Jennifer Smith, said in a Facebook post on Saturday. "It was great to know she was next to me all night. What a great feeling to have her home."

Authorities said Jayme escaped Thursday from a cabin where she was being held by a man who allegedly kidnapped her in October, according to officials at the Barron County Sheriff's Department, who spearheaded the search for her.

She was found in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 70 miles north of her hometown of Barron.

PHOTO: Jayme Closs is pictured in this undated photo posted to Facebook.Jennifer Smith
Jayme Closs is pictured in this undated photo posted to Facebook.

After escaping, Jayme approached Jeanne Nutter, who was out walking her dog. Nutter told ABC News that Jayme looked disheveled, cold, thin and wearing shoes too large for her feet.

"I need help," Jayme said in a soft voice, according to Nutter. "...I’m Jayme Closs, I don’t know where I’m at."

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, of Gordon, was arrested and charged with kidnapping the eighth-grader and killing her parents, Denise and James Closs, officials said. Patterson is expected to make his initial court appearance on the charges on Monday.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Patterson had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme, but it remains unclear how he became aware of the girl, Fitzgerald said.

Investigators have yet to comment on what Jayme endured during her 88 days in captivity.

Her family said Saturday that she is "full of big smiles today."

"It will be a long road but we are family strong and we love this little girl so much!!" Smith wrote on Facebook. "We will do anything and everything!! My beloved sister Denise pooh and brother in law Jim can rest at peace and I keep assuring them Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever."

PHOTO: Jayme Closs is pictured with her aunt Jennifer in this undated photo posted to Facebook.Jennifer Smith
Jayme Closs is pictured with her aunt Jennifer in this undated photo posted to Facebook.

Jayme's ordeal began on Oct. 15, when a 911 hangup call was placed from her home and a dispatcher reported hearing people yelling in the background.

When sheriff's deputies went to the Closs family home, they found Denise Closs, 46, and her husband, James, 56, shot to death. Jayme was nowhere to be found and immediately investigators feared her parent's killer abducted her.

A massive search for the girl was launched and thousands of volunteers helped comb the area near her rural home. A reward of $50,000 was offered for information on the girl's whereabouts.

But in the end, Fitzgerald said, Jayme ended up saving herself.

"It's amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape," Fitzgerald said. "That comes from the hope and the prayers in this community and what everybody did."

News - 'Jayme is safe and we will make sure forever,' family of Wisconsin girl who escaped man who allegedly killed her parents

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  • Joe V

    It's nice for us to see those pictures of Jayme smiling with her aunt, but you know there has to be a lot of hurt bottled up inside her. Hopefully she will be okay.

  • Oldsquaw

    Like everyone else I am very relieved she has been found alive. But I disagree that she is a hero. Her aunts are so proud of her for being 'strong' and brave. But not everyone would have been able to endure her ordeal with strength and bravery. Some people would have completely fallen apart after seeing their parents brutally murdered. But that would not have made them lesser persons. Not everyone can be strong and brave yet they are still good and worthy people.

  • Tom Adams

    How strange. He didn't know the family, but for some reason he shaved his head to make it less likely that DNA would be found, broke into their house an hour from his house, murdered her parents, and then kidnapped her. Was he just driving around the area looking for an opportunity to kill people and kidnap a young girl?

  • Gumby

    Jayme’s aunt should stop posting photos of Jayme on Facebook. That might be one factor that led her abductor to her in the first place. She needs privacy and healing now - not publicity.

  • Ashmedai

    I am glad she has loving relatives to stay with. I wish her the best in her emotional recovery.

  • TheNamesOrly

    I'm going to say this about the media coverage. I'm glad for it because most of us saw news of when this girl was kidnapped (as well as stories of others), and afterward we wonder if/when a kidnap victim will be found, and during that time we might keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Then time passes, and turns into months, and sometimes we start to forget. The only way we know what happened is because of news stories like this, and unless it's on the front page of a news site for three or four days chances are a lot of people who could still be concerned are going to miss it because not everyone gets to read the news every day.

  • Get_Down

    "Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Patterson had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme, but it remains unclear how he became aware of the girl, Fitzgerald said." - The previous statement is very naïve to say the least...Let me give a clue - "Facebook". Any FB user can find data (information) concerning/about other FB users. Don't believe me? When you read through this article as an example, how many times the little girl's family members mentioned that they used FB to announce this and that? Still have not learned anything yet? Just how pathetic the world has become...SMH.

  • ldstep

    Seems like there are more photos coming out of this little girl with her Aunts. Family supposedly request media give them some space. But the Aunts are continuously posting photos on Face Book and releasing photos to the media showing Jayme. That's disgusting. This little girl has gone through a horrendous event; and losing her parents? She does not need to be paraded in Face Book posts. Since this little girl no longer has her parents I hope the courts will appoint some type of guardian to protect this young girl and any proceeds coming from insurance policies or 'Go Fund Me' accounts. This family should be doing more to provide privacy for young Jayme. Instead they appear to be exploiting her in order to get their photos out there. Something is not right about this.

  • SGNH

    We are all thrilled she's safe but for goodness sake let the girl alone.

  • carrollfamily

    As happy as I am that she is alive and curious to know more about her ordeal, I wish that the media would give them some privacy.

  • Flippykitty

    Clearly a troubled, deranged and sick individual -- and yet he was able to get guns so easily to murder his victim's parents. Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this picture?

  • Sundown

    I just watched the "48 Hours" of Jayme's story. This sheriff believes his agency solved this case. He thinks he found Jayme. Jayme solved this case, you narcissistic butt target.
    I hope someone sits on his face in an unpleasant way.

  • Sundown

    Welcome home, Jayme. So glad you made it through the storm. I wish you peace, recovery, justice and a happy and rewarding life.
    I wish the murderer of her parents a long, miserable life where every minute is filled with pain and horror until his death 50 years from now.

  • kittenpops

    So glad this little girl is with family.

  • Joe V

    The perpetrator probably had seen and been observing Jayme for a while and had developed an infatuation with her. When someone has that mindset there is no telling what they might do. John Hinckley had developed an obsession with Jody Foster and he shot Ronald Reagan because of it.

  • horseplay

    I'm happy to see all the comments from people wanting to protect her privacy. This girl did not ask for her name and face to be splashed all over.

  • Dicazi

    So glad she is home and safe.
    But praying she and her family are allowed the privacy they need.

    Please, don't post any pics that aren't released by her family.
    People, don't buy or watch mags to tabloids that invade their privacy.

  • grampazero

    "Investigators have yet to comment on what Jayme endured during her 88 days in captivity."
    Oh really? Should we expect them to comment on that? Like everybody should be waiting to hear about it? Shut up.

  • Michelle R.

    It's a blessing she is home and recovering. I noticed this story and many other outlets saying " the details have not been revealed. "
    You know, we don't need to know all of the details. It's really no one's business to a large extent.She's recovering,and needs to focus on that. Social media can make it worse. Remember that case where a teen girl was taken by her teacher? The media released every brutal detail. They had no right to do that. Imagine the damage that caused. I wish this girl peace.

  • Life's a River

    She will likely have some degree of PTSD, at least for a while. I hope she will get the help she needs to put this behind her and move on with a normal, happy life.

  • SarcasTex

    This will be a year of recovery for this young lady and I can only hope she gets all the help she needs. I've no doubt that her aunt will be a strong force in the recovery effort and I'm grateful that she will be in this young lady's life. I hope those other people, kids mostly, will give her the room she will need to adjust to her new life.

  • Retired and Happy

    Poor kid. Hope she pulls through.

  • Bluejay

    The media needs to back off on these stories a bit. Let the girl heal, and not bring even more weirdness to her life.

    It seems the Aunt is pushing for the media attention though.

  • Don't come here

    The biggest impediment to her recovery will be the media.

  • End of Life Ritual

    Eventually we are going to find out what the connection was. This guy planned and executed the kidnapping. He had to have been stalking her somehow.

  • Sophie Rose

    Thank goodness this girl has her mother's sister to care for her. I hope that the press, people in general, the kids she goes to school with, just accept her back, do NOT question/speculate about what happened to her and allow her to speak of what happened when/if she chooses.

  • Lee Thompson

    Nothing like pets for therapeutic attention, and they seem to have a sixth sense for what one needs. Great pictures of Jayme at home with her Aunt and the dogs.
    So very happy for all involved.

  • Toshiro Histugaya

    She still looks exhausted. I'm glad she's back, but keep her off of social media and let her actually recover as best she can at the moment.

  • The Terminator

    I hope and sure things will go well for her.

  • Hater_Baiter

    So happy she is home and she sure looks a lot like her Aunt