Months after she was able to escape from the home where she was being held captive, Jayme Closs is seen in public for the first time.
As Dearly previously reported, on October 15, 2018, Jayme Closs was kidnapped by 21-year-old Jake Patterson after he shot and killed her parents, 46-year-old Denise Closs and 56-year-old James Closs.
It wasn’t until 88 days later that Closs was able to sneak out of Patterson’s home undetected and found safety after running into a woman who was walking her dog.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) January 11, 2019
Closs has since been reunited with her family. She is currently living with her aunt, who has become her primary caregiver.
Now, Closs is being recognized for her bravery.
As Fox 9 reports, Closs was seen in public for the first time as she accepted a “Hometown Hero” award given to her by the Wisconsin State Assembly.
The 13-year-old had her hair up in a bun as she stood next to her aunt with a smile on her face.
State Rep. Romaine Quinn, who nominated Closs for the award, said of the tenacious teenager:
“Jayme, your strength, your resolve, and your bravery is beyond incredible. You are truly an inspiration and a bright light during a time of sadness. And you taught us an important lesson, no matter how grave your situation, no matter how dark your days become, and no matter how impossible your circumstances may seem, there is always hope.”
Closs’ aunt also made a few remarks on behalf of herself and her niece.
She said, in part:
“Please know, Jayme is enjoying her day here, more than you can imagine. She greatly appreciates the honor, the Capitol tour, and the kindness of everyone involved.”
Closs’ aunt later thanked their hometown of Barron and the surrounding area for their “support, encouragement, and love.”
She also stated that her entire family believes Jayme is wholeheartedly deserving of being hailed a “hero,” adding:
“Her courage, her bravery, and her spirit are things that inspire us and make us stronger and better.”
Watch the full presentation below:
Patterson has since pleaded guilty to the charges against him and his expected to be sentenced on May 24.