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1 year later, Jayme Closs says she's feeling stronger every day

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Updated: 12:27 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2019

BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) --The Wisconsin girl whose parents were fatally shot before she was kidnapped and held captive for 88 days before escaping from her abductor said she's feeling stronger every day and is thankful for the kindness and concern expressed to her from people all over the country in the year after the crime.

Jayme Closs issued a statement Monday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the fatal shootings and abduction at her home near Barron in northwest Wisconsin. Closs said she is getting back to the activities she enjoys and loves hanging out with her friends.

The statement was read by family attorney Chris Gramstrup at a news conference at the Barron County Sheriff's Department.

"She continues to work very, very hard on her emotional well-being," Gramstrup said. "She's moving forward courageously and reclaiming her life. Her incredible spirit and strength continues to inspire everyone around her."

Gramstrup says Jayme, who has celebrated her 14th birthday, inherited her strength and soft heart from her father and mother. James and Denise Closs were killed at their home Oct. 15, 2018 by Jake Patterson who abducted Jayme.

Gramstrup asked the community to remember James and Denise Closs, he said James had strength and Denise had heart. Gramstrup says Jayme possesses both those characteristics. 

”It’s her strength and her heart that has and will continue to get her through this and move forward with her life,” adds Gramstrup. 

The Closs case is the largest case in the Wisconsin state crime lab, collecting nearly 700 pieces of evidence. Jayme’s disappearance was also the longest active running Amber Alert in the state’s history, it garnered more than 32,000 reports.

Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald honored investigators in the case who aided in the conviction of Closs’ kidnapper, Jake Patterson.

”While Jayme found us, many hours of work had to be done to get the conviction and I want to honor all these law enforcement officers,” said Chris Fitzgerald. 

Ten lead agents in the case were given a memento, which says ‘never give up hope.’ One will be on display at the Barron County Justice center for the community, who held out hope for 87 days until Jayme’s safe return home.

”From 2,000 searchers, to the meals you cooked, to the signs of support you put up, we never gave up and I hope Jayme felt that," said Fitzgerald. "So if we learned anything from this case, is that you never give up hope.”

Fitzgerald was asked whether his department has made any changes in the way they pursue future cases like Jayme’s. Fitzgerald says nothing in his operation has changed, but he hopes to release reports from the case fairly soon.

According to the criminal complaint, the then-21-year-old Patterson told investigators he knew Jayme "was the girl he was going to take" after he saw her getting on a school bus near her home. He made two aborted trips to the family's home before carrying out the attack in which he killed Jayme's mother in front of her, the complaint said.

In the days that followed, thousands of people volunteered to search for Jayme. Patterson hid Jayme in a remote cabin in Gordon, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of Barron, before she escaped and got help from a woman walking her dog.

Jayme told police that on the night she was abducted, she awoke to her dog's barking, then woke her parents as a car came up the driveway. Her father went to the front door as Jayme and her mother hid in a bathtub, according to the complaint. Jayme told police she heard a gunshot and knew her dad had been killed.

Patterson — dressed in black and wearing a facemask — broke down the bathroom door, according to the complaint. He taped Jayme's mouth, hands and ankles before pulling her out of the bathtub and shooting her mother in the head, the complaint said.

He dragged Jayme outside, threw her in the trunk of his car and drove off, according to the complaint.

When Patterson left the cabin or had friends over, he sealed her under the bed with tote boxes and weights so she couldn't crawl out, sometimes for hours, according to the complaint. When his father visited, Patterson told investigators, he turned up the radio to conceal any noise she might make.

She escaped Jan. 10 when Patterson was away.

Patterson is serving life in prison with no chance of parole. 

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Posted: 9:08 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2019 

BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says he will be recognizing the investigators who worked on the Closs case at a press conference Monday. 

October 15 marks one years since James and Denise Closs were killed and Jayme Closs was abducted, beginning the search for her that lasted until January 10. 

Fitzgerald says he will be introducing the ten lead investigators on the case.

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1 Comments

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JonN 32 days ago
For what? She escaped on her own and went to an outsider to get help. Investigators didn't find or rescue her.
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