Fam­ily: Wis­con­sin teen in 'good spir­its' post-kid­nap, es­cape

El Dorado News-Times - - News -

As­so­ci­ated Press

The grand­fa­ther of a 13-year-old north­west­ern Wis­con­sin girl who au­thor­i­ties say es­caped a man who killed her par­ents and held her cap­tive for three months said Sun­day she's in "ex­cep­tion­ally good spir­its."

Jayme Closs on Thurs­day fled the cabin near the small town of Gor­don where she said she had been im­pris­oned. She ap­proached a woman walk­ing a dog and asked for her help.

Po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rested 21-year-old Jake Thomas Pat­ter­son min­utes later based on Jayme's de­scrip­tion of his ve­hi­cle. Au­thor­i­ties are hold­ing Pat­ter­son on sus­pi­cion of kid­nap­ping and homi­cide.

Lit­tle has been re­vealed about Jayme's or­deal since her ab­duc­tion in mid-Oc­to­ber, al­though more de­tails could come Mon­day when Pat­ter­son is ex­pected to be charged and make his first ap­pear­ance in court.

Jayme's grand­fa­ther, Robert Naiberg, said Sun­day that, con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances, the teen is hold­ing up .

"She's do­ing ex­cep­tion­ally well for what she went through," Naiberg told The As­so­ci­ated Press by phone. "She's in ex­cep­tion­ally good spir­its."

On Sun­day, area church­go­ers said their prayers were an­swered by Jayme's safe re­turn.

"We are over­joyed and we couldn't be hap­pier. It's a mir­a­cle and it's won­der­ful," Mary Haas told the Min­neapo­lis Star Tri­bune while tak­ing down Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions after Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bar­ron. "We prayed and prayed and prayed."

Jayme has been stay­ing with an aunt in Bar­ron since she es­caped.

"It's a great day up in our area," said Larry Leff at St. Peter's Catholic Church in nearby Cameron. "God an­swered all our prayers."

An in­truder blasted open the door of James and Denise Closs' home near Bar­ron with a shot­gun Oct. 15, gunned the cou­ple down and made off with Jayme.

While in­ves­ti­ga­tors have said Pat­ter­son's goal was to kid­nap Jayme, he has no ap­par­ent prior con­nec­tion to the fam­ily. Naiberg told the AP on Satur­day that Jayme told FBI agents she did not know Pat­ter­son.

Pat­ter­son at­tor­neys Charles Glynn and Richard Jones said in a state­ment that they con­sider the sit­u­a­tion "very tragic" and that they are re­ly­ing on the court sys­tem to treat their client fairly.

Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald told re­porters on Fri­day that Pat­ter­son took mea­sures to avoid leav­ing ev­i­dence at the Closs fam­ily's home, in­clud­ing shav­ing his head be­fore break­ing in. A shot­gun was re­cov­ered from the cabin, which Pat­ter­son's fa­ther owned.

Jerry Holt/AP

Con­fer­ence: Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald speaks dur­ing a news con­fer­ence about 13-year-old Jayme Closs who has been miss­ing since her par­ents were found dead in their home in Bar­ron, Wis. The north­west Wis­con­sin girl who went miss­ing in Oc­to­ber after her par­ents were killed has been found alive, au­thor­i­ties said Thurs­day.

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