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Jayme Closs: Hometown Hero

Jayme Closs: Hometown Hero
Jayme Closs: Hometown Hero 42:52

Reported by Gayle King, Peter Van Sant, Jim Axelrod and Adriana Diaz 

Jayme Closs' story captured the world's hearts when she disappeared from her family's home in Barron, Wisconsin, on Oct. 15, 2018. She fled her captor 88 days later. Now, "48 Hours" explores the courage Closs displayed in escaping her captor, and how her family and community have bonded to help her recover.


On May 15, 2019, Jayme Closs appeared in public for the first time since her kidnapping at the Wisconsin State Capital.

Wisconsin State Rep. Romain Quinn [R-Barron]: Two innocent people were murdered, and a young girl taken. After 88 days in captivity that young lady found her way to freedom. Ladies and gentlemen, that young lady, Jayme Closs, is with us here today. On behalf of the state of Wisconsin, I am so proud to present our hometown hero award to Miss Jayme Closs.

Jayme looked out over the chamber, her family by her side.

Jennifer Smith | Jayme's aunt [addressing the assembly]: Speaking for her entire family, I have to say that Jayme is totally deserving of the hero part of this award. Her courage, her bravery, and her spirit are things that inspire us and make us stronger and better. Just like you we want Jayme to know how much we love her. Thank you.

Four months after she escaped her captor, Jayme Closs, center, was given the Hometown Hero award by the Wisconsin State Legislature. She is seen here with Wisconsin state representative Romaine Quinn, far right, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, back row left, and many family members including her grandfather, aunts, uncle and cousins. Milwaukee FBI

Jayme went missing in the early hours of Oct. 15, 2018, when a man the family didn't know pulled into their driveway. Jayme's father, Jim, was murdered -- shot at point-blank range -- at the front door. Her mother, Denise, barricaded herself with Jayme in the bathroom and called 911. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald described the call, which was recently released.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald | Barron County Sheriff's Dept.: The 911 call is very inaudible. … You can't hear words. You hear yelling or maybe a scream … And it ends by gettin' hung up.

By the time police arrived, Denise Closs had also been shot to death in front of her daughter. The killer drove away with 13-year-old Jayme in the trunk of his car.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: The time from the 911 call until our deputies arrive is less than four minutes. The timing is just -- it has to be perfect on his part. So, we think this was well planned out.

There was a massive search, but no one had seen any trace of Jayme Closs until Jan. 10, 2019. It was a little after 4 p.m.

Jeanne Nutter: I was at the end of my driveway, and then I saw a young woman who appeared to be in distress. … All I knew is whoever this child is, she's in trouble. 

Gayle King: What did you see that made you think she was in trouble?

Jeanne Nutter: Well, because it was 19 or 20 degrees outside and I -- she only had a sweatshirt on and maybe some black leggings.

Gayle King: Did you recognize her right away?

Jeanne Nutter: Right away, because her pictures are everywhere.

Gayle King: Yeah.

Jeanne Nutter: And she just sorta fell into me and said, "I'm Jayme." And I said, "I know."

Jeanne Nutter was out walking her dog that afternoon on a remote road in the tiny town of Gordon Wisconsin, about an hour north of Jayme's home.

Gayle King: Just hearing the story -- my heart's beating a little faster. Just because I can't imagine what it was like for this young girl, who's gone through who knows what, to finally see somebody that can help her.

Jeanne Nutter:  This girl -- whatever it took for her to get out of that house, I was not gonna let anything happen to her.

Jeanne Nutter CBS News

As fate would have it, Nutter is a retired trauma counselor. She focused on getting Jayme to safety and keeping her calm.

Jeanne Nutter: I just kept saying, "Don't worry, Jayme. Everything's gonna be all right. You're gonna be fine. You know, just hang onto me," because we were walking on, like, three inches of glare ice.

Jayme immediately told Nutter who was holding her captive --  the man who killed her parents: Jake Patterson.

Gayle King: So, she named him right then?

Jeanne Nutter: Yeah. She named him right away.

Nutter was afraid to take Jayme back to her cabin, knowing Patterson's property, with two cabins, touches the back of her land.

Jeanne Nutter: Jayme even asked me, "Do you live around here?" And I said, "No, I'm just walking my dog," because I didn't want her to know that I didn't think our cabin wasn't safe.

Gayle King: You stayed calm.

Jeanne Nutter: I was not calm inside, so I did not want her to know that.

In fact, she was terrified Patterson might find them out on that road.

Gayle King: Did you start to get concerned that maybe Mr. Patterson is following her?

Jeanne Nutter: That was in my head.

Gayle King: Were you worried about that?

Jeanne Nutter: You know, I just wanted us to be moving.

Gayle King: And get safe --

Jeanne Nutter: Moving in a direction to safety. 'Cause literally that word was going through my head. Safety, safety, safety.

Luckily, Nutter found neighbors at home -- one of the few families who live here year-round -- Kristin and Peter Kasinskas.

Kristin Kasinskas: She just opened the door and said, "This is Jayme, call 911 right now."

911 OPERATOR: Southwest County 911.

KRISTIN KASINSKAS: I have a young lady at my house right now and she says her name is Jayme Closs.

911 OPERATOR:  OK. Have you seen her photo ma'am?

KRISTIN KASINSKAS: Yes, it is her. I 100% think it is her.

911 Operator: …OK. I've got multiple deputies headed out there.

Peter Kasinskas: I mean we've been seeing her for so long. Billboards, commercials, all this stuff. It was like I was seeing a ghost in front of me.

Peter Kasinskas loaded a gun and went to the front door.

Kristin Kasinskas: I … was pleading with the person on the line this is not fake. This is real.

911 OPERATOR: Kristin. is the neighbor that walked her up, is she still there?

Kristin Kasinskas passed the phone to Nutter:

911 OPERATOR: Ma'am, how did she come up upon your cabin?

JEANNE NUTTER: I was walking my dog and we were almost home and she was walking towards me crying saying, "You got to help me, you gotta help me …"

911 OPERATOR: And she said, "I am Jayme Closs"?

JEANNE NUTTER: Yes. She said, "he killed my parents. I want to go home. Help me."

As the minutes ticked by, Nutter told police all she could about Jayme's captor:

JEANNE NUTTER: His name is Jake Patterson …

911 OPERATOR: Do we know what type of vehicle or if he works anywhere?

JEANNE NUTTER: [to Jayme] Does he work? [to 911] He doesn't work and I asked her what kind of car it was it's a red -- he used to be in the military.

911 OPERATOR: And did she say he's gone right now?

JEANNE NUTTER: Yes … And … She doesn't know where he went or what he does … He might come. So, if the cops could get here soon.

911 OPERATOR: I have many deputies headed that way. I'm going to keep you on the line.


Peter and Kristin Kasinskas' two young children were also home.

Kristin Kasinskas: They were telling us to get away from the windows and get the kids downstairs. So, the kids were pretty freaked out.

Twenty minutes into that phone call, their fears were mounting:

JEANNE NUTTER: Are they close? We're just nervous.

911 OPERATOR:  They're close. They're -- Hang on a second …

And then, finally, 29 minutes into that call, police arrived:

JEANNE NUTTER: They're in the house! The cops are in the house.

911 OPERATOR: Oh, they're in there -- there with you? [gasps]

JEANNE NUTTER: Yes. They just came in.

At long last Jayme Closs was safe. After the brutal murder of her parents, after 88 days in captivity and after her incredible escape, there was, at least for the moment, relief.

Peter Kasinskas: I didn't believe she was alive. … I can't imagine, I mean the parents are gone but you still have family, that, I don't know, it just, it just gets to me when I talk about it [in tears].

Sheriff's deputies secured Jayme and went looking for Patterson. And they found him just 11 minutes later driving around, looking for Jayme. It was less than an hour since Jayme found Jeanne on that road.

Jeanne Nutter: Honestly, I feel privileged that I had this little piece of, you know, the puzzle of finding Jayme. And I just happened to be a social worker. I happened to be there at that time.

Gayle King: Sounds like it was meant to be, Jeanne Nutter.

An evidence photo of the space under a bed in Jake Patterson's cabin where Jayme Closs was confined for up to 12 hours at a time, without food, water or bathroom breaks.  Barron County Sheriff's Department

If Jayme hadn't escaped when she did, if she hadn't met Nutter, things could have ended very differently.

Peter Kasinskas: I think it was God. It was. It was no doing of any man that did this. I mean, our neighbor was late doing things, walking her dog late, I happened to be home, everything happened, I mean, nobody could have planned this. It happened for a reason.

Whatever happened that day, it started with Jayme.

Jeanne Nutter: What 13-year-old has it in them to endure what she has, and then find the courage and -- just to get out.

For her Aunt Jennifer Smith back at home, those last hours waiting for Jayme were perhaps the longest.

Jennifer Smith: It's driving me crazy. I just got to see her. I just got to give her that hug.


Jennifer Smith | Jayme's aunt: I was crying, and I told my dad that "Jayme is found.  She is safe."  We were just crying and crying. My dad said, "Oh my God, I can't believe it."

This was the news they'd all been waiting for, those three long months. CBS News' Gayle King spoke to some of Jayme Closs's family just days after her escape.

Lynn Closs | Jayme's aunt: It was the most amazing, fabulous thing in the world … We've all been wearing Jayme bracelets. You know, "Bring Jayme home." … And we all took 'em off and threw 'em in the kitchen. It was like, "We've got her. We don't have to wear our bracelets." And you just feel lighter. You just feel so unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Gayle King: So, you get the news that everybody's been praying for, hoping for, longing for, for the past 88 days.

Gayle King: Tell us how you each heard that she was OK. Sue?

Sue Allard | Jayme's aunt: My dad had to call my neighbor. And she comes screaming in my door. I'll never, ever forget her screaming. "Sue, Sue. They found Jayme."

From left, Jayme's cousin Lindsey Smith, and aunts Lynn Closs and Sue Allard talk with CBS News' Gayle King. CBS News

Lindsey Smith | Jayme's cousin: My brother called me. And he's just screaming on the phone, "We have Jayme. We're getting Jayme home!" And I burst into tears.

Lynn Closs: It's like, you're covered in goosebumps. You're so excited. You can't breathe. You can't think. I don't even know how to describe it.

Gayle King: Yes, yes.

Jennifer Smith is not just Jayme's aunt.

Jennifer Smith: I watched Jayme 12 years of her life. I was her daycare provider. That's why this has been so hard on me. 

Smith was living -- as they all were -- with the unbearable mix of pain and hope ever since that terrible October night.

Jennifer Smith: My heart was shattered.  It left a hole in our heart and we just wanted to find her, and we just had hope that she was alive somewhere and that we would get her home.

Gayle King: You know, we went to day 88. And normally when these types of stories come, they do not have this ending.

Sue Allard: Right.

Gayle King: Please help us understand how you all, all of you, say, "We never gave up hope."

Sue Allard: Never.

Lynn Closs: We had this little girl that we couldn't find. … We kinda said, OK, as horrible as that is, we gotta put it here, and we gotta find her.

Jayme spent the first night after her escape in the hospital. The next day, Jennifer and her husband Bob could finally bring Jayme home.

Jennifer Smith: I get to reunite with Jayme today … it's driving me crazy. I just need to see her.

First inside the door, waiting, was Jayme's grandfather Rod.

Jayme Closs enjoying dinner with her grandfather soon after her escape. 

Sue Allard: Grandpa Rod first.

Lyndsey Smith: Yep. Grandpa.

Sue Allard: Grandpa Rod was standin' there at the end of the hallway, cryin' before she even come in the door.

Lyndsey Smith: Yep.

Sue Allard: But he got to be the first one to hug her, so yeah.

Gayle King: Her grandfather.

Lynn Closs:  It was just so good just to really see her.

Gayle King: Yes.

Lynn Closs: You know? And just to give her a hug. You know, I said a couple things to her quietly, and she had a little giggle. And, I mean, it's like you wanna record it and take it with you.

But even as their eyes filled with happy tears, there hung the shadow of their loss, of Jayme's parents, Jim and Denise.

Gayle King: Have you had time to grieve really?

Lyndsey Smith: No.

Lynn Closs: No. All we've done is search for Jayme.

Jennifer Smith: My hope for Jayme is that she will recover, and we will get through this together and we will grieve together as a family, because we haven't grieved for her my sister and brother-in-law.  And we will grieve together for her mom and dad.

Jayne's parents Jim and Denise Closs

Jayme is Jim and Denise Closs's only child. They were people of faith, who worked side-by-side for 27 years at the Jennie-O turkey plant in Barron. And they doted on Jayme, known for her love of volleyball, ice skating, and her dog Molly.

Sue Allard: Jayme was Jim and Denise's life. … Everything they did, they worked for Jayme.

Jayme will now be living with her Uncle Bob and Aunt Jennifer.

Jennifer Smith: I will never take her mom's place. Her mom will always be her mom. And I'll, you know, let her know that I will be her aunt, but, yet, I'll be like a mom to her.

Lynn Closs: The thing I wanted to express to her immediately, and we all do, is the pride we have in her for doing this. For getting out. For making it. For the power that she has. You know, I mean, that she took the power away from this man. That she did this.  

Gayle King: Are you all surprised by the strength? Because we keep hearing her described as shy and quiet.

Sue Allard: I am. I'm --

Gayle King: You are --

Lyndsey Smith: I am.

Sue Allard: I am.

Lynn Closs: Yeah.

Aunt Sue Allard: I think there was the power of God behind it. All these people in this whole nation, the prayers that were said.

Jennifer Smith: She's a survivor.  She's our little survivor.

Gayle King: There are grown people I think that would have been paralyzed in fear.

Lynn Closs: In fear. Yes. We don't know what she went through. But … to beat him at his own game, and to survive and get outta there, I mean, wow!

Now the long road of healing lies in front of this family, and a set of hard truths they will have to face together.

Gayle King: So, there are many questions. And I know you want answers. Everybody wants answers. How will you go about getting the answers to all of the questions that so many people have, and yourself included?

Aunt Sue Allard: In due time. We have to take little steps. Jayme, when she's ready to talk, she will. … We ask her, "Can we hug you?" We ask her. We just are not gonna take her and, you know, be gentle with her.

One question her family could not help asking themselves since the day Jayme was taken was why? Why this crime? This family? This child?

Lynn Closs: I mean, nothing made sense.

Sue Allard: Right.

Lynn Closs: It still doesn't.

Sue Allard: No.

Lyndsey Smith: Yeah, it still doesn't make any sense.

Sue Allard: There's a lotta, lotta questions. Why?

With Jayme's captor due in court, they were about to get some answers.


When Jake Patterson was pulled over by police on January 10, looking for Jayme in that red car, he told deputies he knew why they were stopping him, saying," I did it."

Four days later, on Monday, January 14, Patterson appeared in court by video phone to be charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.

Patterson gave police a detailed confession soon after his arrest and later pleaded guilty to all charges. WCCO

JUDGE: Mr. Wright, the state's recommendation for bail?

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: The state is asking the court to set cash bail in the amount of $5 million.

By this time, Patterson had given a detailed confession. 

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: He was going to shoot anyone inside that home, including children – because he could not leave behind any eyewitnesses.

Details that didn't help his defense. Bail was set at $5 million.

Back in Patterson's hometown of Gordon, Wisconsin, the community was in shock.

Daphne Ronning: You can't believe it. … Your own neighbor? You know, doing something like that and here she's been in this house all this time and we had no idea whatsoever?

Daphne Ronning lived next door to Jake Patterson, who is the youngest of three siblings.

Daphne Ronning: We see them all the time working in the yard, working on cars. …They were typical teenagers, typical kids.

When Patterson's parents divorced in 2008, he and his brother continued to live with their father in the family cabin. Eventually, he would live there alone. Over the past few years, Ronning saw less and less of Jake.

Daphne Ronning: I haven't seen him in quite a while.

Kristin Kasinskas, who made the 911 call after Jayme's escape, had been Patterson's middle school teacher.

Kristin Kasinskas: This wasn't a kid that I ever would have thought would be involved in something like this.

He graduated high school in 2015, voted the "most quiet person" in his class. In one photo, he sits removed from his classmates in a corner by himself. After high school, Patterson enlisted in the Marine Corps. But he was dismissed after five weeks of basic training. He returned home to Wisconsin and had two very short-lived jobs.  There were no other clues as to why he decided to commit these violent crimes.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: Why? Why did Mr. Patterson pick Jayme? Why did he feel he had to kill her parents? Those are, really, key questions that we want to address -- during this investigation.

After two months in the Barron County Jail, Patterson pleaded guilty to all charges:

JUDGE: How do you plead?


JUDGE: Mr. Patterson, do you understand that by pleading guilty, you give up your right to a trial?


On May 24, Jayme Closs' friends and family packed the courtroom on the day of Jake Patterson's sentencing … waiting for answers and justice.

Investigators learned Patterson had plans to kidnap multiple girls and kill multiple families. Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright explained how Patterson targeted Jayme:

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: He had been thinking about kidnapping a girl for several months and was just waiting for the right opportunity.

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: In early October 2018, the defendant got a job … working at Saputo Cheese … As he was driving to work on the morning of his first day, he saw Jayme getting on the school bus that stopped in front of the Closs home. … his thoughts immediately turned to how he could kidnap her.

Patterson made elaborate plans to take her and avoid detection.

SHERIFF CHRIS FITZGERALD: He prepared himself to try to beat the forensics of -- of law enforcement … Things like he cut his hair all off so that he wouldn't leave trace evidence of his hair.

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: That night he wore … steel-toed boots …  black ski-mask … two pairs of gloves. He brought with him a knife, black Gorilla Tape, a flashlight, and his father's 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun, that was later recovered from the defendant's residence in Gordon.

Attorney Wright told the court what Jayme endured for almost three months of captivity.

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: Jayme went into survival mode. He kept her in constant fear by yelling at her and threatening her … He physically hit her with a curtain rod. Exhibit seven, your Honor, shows where the defendant confined Jayme for 88 days. This was her prison.  … No bathroom breaks. No movement. No sound out of her for up to 12 hours at a time. Those were the defendant's rules, rules she better follow or something really bad would happen to her.

Patterson also addressed the court:

JAKE PATTERSON: I would do, like, absolutely anything to take back what I did, you know … I'm just sorry. That's all.

The prosecutor wasn't buying it:

D.A. BRIAN WRIGHT: He's not sorry for kidnapping Jayme and murdering her parents. He's sorry that he got caught.

But the most powerful statement came from Jayme herself, read by her court-appointed lawyer, Chris Gramstrup:

ATTORNEY CHRIS GRAMSTRUP: Judge, this is the statement of Jayme Closs. … "Last October Jake Patterson took a lotta things that I love away from me. … But there are some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can't take my freedom. He thought that he could own me, but he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. … He thought that he could make me like him, but he was wrong. … Jake Patterson will never have any power over me. I feel like I have some power over him because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him. … For 88 days he tried to steal me, and he didn't care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever."

The judge had the last word.

JUDGE: Not only were you a danger to the Closs family, you are an extreme danger to the public in general. (Patterson shakes his head)

Man sentenced to life in prison in Jayme Closs case 02:19

He sentenced Patterson to two consecutive life sentences for the two murders and 40 more years for kidnapping.

District Attorney Brian Wright, Jennifer Smith and Sheriff Fitzgerald addressed reporters:

DISTRICT ATTORNEY BRIAN WRIGHT: I hope the result in this case will give Jayme some measure of comfort in knowing that Mr. Patterson will never terrorize her again…

JENNIFER SMITH: On behalf of Jayme, I would like to thank everyone involved in helping us through this very difficult time. … Today was a very important step in the process of helping Jayme to move forward. … Jayme will very likely have more to say in the future, but we are grateful for you allowing her to do that on her own terms.

SHERIFF FITZGERALD: Thank you to that 13-year-old girl, Jayme, who led us with her strength, and the will to not give up. Your smile is now contagious across the world.


When the news first spread that Jayme Closs was alive and safe, thoughts turned to another celebrated case.

Ed Smart [to CBS News' Jim Axelrod via Skype]: When we hear that, you know, Jayme has been found, how wonderful, what -- another miracle.

Ed Smart knows well the anguish of waiting for a child to come home.

Ed Smart:  You know, night after night, you just want to wake up and this is a bad dream and it's going away.


Elizabeth Smart AP Photo

It was 2002, when Smart's 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth Smart was snatched from her Utah bedroom. It was one of the most publicized and memorable child abductions. It took nine months of searching and sorrow before the Smart family could celebrate Elizabeth's safe return.

Ed Smart: They took me to this room, and when they opened the door and she was there, I just -- I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it.

Elizabeth had been abducted by Brian David Mitchell, whom the Smarts briefly hired to do work in their home. Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, held Elizabeth captive, hiding and disguised. Mitchell is now serving a life sentence. Barzee was released after 15 years. Today Elizabeth Smart is 31. She has three children, is a network news commentator, and has authored two books.


J. Paul Getty III, Oil Heir Who Lost Ear In 1970s Era Kidnapping, Dead at 54
John Paul Getty III AP Photo

These stories are indelible -- and while rare, still too frequent for those involved. There was the case of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of oil tycoon J Paul Getty, who was kidnapped in 1973 at the age of 16. The story was told in the 2017 movie "All the Money in the World." Held by the Mafia in Italy, his ear was chopped off. Eventually, a ransom was paid, and he was released five months later.


On this day: Patty Hearst abducted by armed radicals 01:26


PATTY HEARST: Mom, dad, I'm OK -- I just hope that you'll do what they say, dad, and just do it quickly …"

In 1974, 19-year-old newspaper heir Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the California radical terrorist group, the Symbionese Liberation Army.  A year-and-a-half later, after being involved in a bank robbery, she was found during an FBI raid.  Hearst served a two-year prison sentence, as questions swirled about whether she had willingly committed violent acts or was brainwashed.

Patty Hearst: I think about, you know, what it was that I had to do in order to survive. It's amazing what people can do to you.

Today she's a philanthropist, mother and grandmother.


Jaycee Dugard AP Photo

Another missing child made news in 1991. Jaycee Dugard, 11, was abducted on her way to school in California. She was hidden for nearly two decades by a couple, Phillip and Nancy Garrido. Phillip Garrido was a registered sex offender.  Jaycee lived behind a series of fences and tents, even giving birth to two children fathered by her abductor in a ramshackle backyard compound.

Dugard was found when she was 29, when a campus police officer noticed Phillip Garrido acting strangely. 

She now heads a foundation for families in trauma. When Jayme Closs escaped, Jaycee sent her a message, writing. "… The road ahead will have many ups and downs. Allow yourself to grieve and move forward …"


Shawn Hornbeck shared his story with "48 Hours" in 2008. CBS

Craig Akers: October 6th, 2002, was a Sunday. It was about 1:00 in the afternoon. Shawn was bored and asked if he could go out to play. He wanted to ride his bike to his friend's house, something that we had let him do, you know, hundreds, maybe thousands of times before.

Pam Akers: To me he was just my sweet little boy.

The parents of Shawn Hornbeck also know the pain of waiting after a child goes missing.

Hornbeck was 11 when he went vanished in Missouri in 2002. It would take four-and-a-half years before his parents learned what happened.

Shawn Hornbeck: I didn't really know he was behind me. … Next thing you know, I was in the ditch. … That's when he picked me up and tied my hands behind my back and put me in the truck. … He had the gun. He had the power.

A random stranger, a child predator named Mike Devlin, abducted Hornbeck.

Shawn Hornbeck: The thing that sticks out the most is he said, "You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hornbeck's nightmare came to end when Devlin kidnapped another boy, this time from a school bus stop. A witness helped law enforcement track down the vehicle Devlin drove, which lead them to find both boys at Devlin's apartment. And then, the parents who didn't know if they'd ever see their son again, laid eyes on Shawn.

Pam Akers: And that was just the most wonderful feeling that you could have.

Shawn Hornbeck:  … then it was like the water works were just on. There was no off button on it. It was like a water main broke.

Since then, Hornbeck has mostly stayed out of the spotlight. He was last reported to be working in a factory with hopes of obtaining a college degree in criminal law.

Of course, it's too soon to know how Jayme Closs will now move on. Unlike these other cases, her parents weren't there to welcome her home.

Ed Smart [to Jim Axelrod]: I think it's going to be hard not having her parents there but making the connections she can and finding the love and support from the community.

And the town of Barron has been giving Jayme exactly that.


The town of Barron, Wisconsin, is small and tight-knit. They never gave up on Jayme Closs. And now that she is safely home, they're still coming together to show their support.

Fundraiser guest: This community just, if it wasn't close before, it is now. … My heart is just in a new place.

A community comes together to support Jayme Closs 01:52

In May, the town held a fundraiser for Jayme and her family in the high school gym.

Diane Tremblay | Barron School Superintendent: We are at a beautiful benefit for the Closs family. Just a lot of beauty and love wrapped around this event.

Diane Tremblay: People's true colors show in these times. A lot of love in this town.

The town of Barron showed the world the true meaning of community -- starting the day Jayme disappeared.


The town was left reeling in shock and horror.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: I've been doing this over 20 years and it's a crime scene … like you rarely see. It's going to take a toll on our people.

Law enforcement launched a massive search.

Diane Tremblay [to searchers]: We all have the same goal in mind and that is to bring Jayme home.

The entire community joined in prayer and hope.


The world began to learn a little bit about the eighth-grader who disappeared without a trace

Diane Tremblay [to reporters]: Jamie wrote on one of her assignments in response to the question, "What would you do if you were given a million dollars?" She said, "Feed the hungry and give the rest to the poor."

Time was of the essence.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald [to reporters]: Every second counts in this case.

More than 100 officers combed through neighborhoods and searched for clues.

Over 200 tips came flooding in.  Jayme's Amber Alert web page got 30,000 hits, and friends, like Melissa Salmonson, organized a prayer vigil.

Melissa Salmonson: Everyone is feeling very helpless right now … and being able to pray together and just feel like maybe those prayers are helping in some way.  

Jayme Closs timeline: 88 days 07:04

DAY 4  

The sheriff asked for a hundred volunteers to search the area; 300 people showed up.


The sheriff called upon more citizens to join in the investigation.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: We are asking about 2,000 volunteers to walk specific areas in and around the crime scene to help with our investigation.

They came in droves.  They swarmed the area in line formation through the woods, across the streams and into the cornfields.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: I believe she is still alive. I believe she is still out there and the hope is what we're riding on and that's what we're gonna go with.

DAY 12

In the middle of all this hope came a solemn reminder of what was lost: two people who were deeply loved, Jim and Denise, Jayme's parents.    

Missy Ruffin: Why? Why? They're normal people. …They go to work. They go home. They're about their families.

As time passed, the leads dried up and cold reality set in.

DAY 18

Investigators who had set up shop in the command center started leaving town.

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: We were averaging sometimes between 100 to 250 a day, now we're down to about 25-ish range … so we need to scale back operations itself.

DAY 77

Life for the most part went back to normal, but the people of Barron never forgot Jayme Closs.

On day 77, people of all ages and walks of life called upon the spirit of Christmas to bring Jayme home. 

Mike Closs: The support has been overwhelming.

Jayme's uncle, Mike Closs, addressed the crowd.

Mike Closs: Our family's like you. We just want Jayme home.

That wish came true.

DAY 88

Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald: That was a pretty great hug -- when you got to tell the aunt she's comin' home.

Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt, Jennifer Smith in Barron, Wis. on  Jan. 11, 2019. 

Jennifer Smith: My phone does not stop ringing. If it's not somebody calling me, it's somebody sending me a message. All good things, but everybody's just so happy and excited that she's been found. She's got a whole huge family out there besides us. … She's loved by everybody.

Gayle King: And what's your message, the best thing that we can all do to help Jayme? To help this family at this time?  

Lynn Closs: Keep her in your prayers, because she's got a long road. You know, she's got a lotta stuff to deal with.

Sue Allard: Patience, love and making sure she's feeling safe.

Lynn Closs: And kindness. Just be kind. Don't be nosy. Just be kind.

Jayme Closs, center, surrounded by her loved ones Jennifer Smith

Jayme's powerful statement, read by her lawyer at the sentencing, shows she is taking back her life:

"Jake Patterson can never take away my courage … I was brave and he was not … He can never take away my spirit … He can't stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not." 

Friends say Jayme is doing very well since coming home. She is seeing family and friends, and has started therapy.

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