Jayme Closs Honored as Wisconsin's Hometown Hero

Junie Sihlangu
May 16, 2019
01:45 P.M.

A 13-year-old girl was recently honored by Wisconsin Lawmakers after she managed to escape from a man who’d kidnapped her. The man took Jayme Closs after killing her parents in their home.


On Wednesday, Jayme Closs was honored for her bravery by Wisconsin lawmakers. The teenager managed to escape from her captor after being held for 88 days.

The man had killed her parents last October before kidnapping her. The Wisconsin State Assembly held a ceremony in the state capitol in Madison where the little girl received a “hometown hero” award.

Although she didn’t speak at the ceremony, Jennifer Smith, her aunt and guardian, thanked the lawmakers on her behalf. Smith said: “Jayme is enjoying her day here. More than you can imagine.”


A representative from Closs’ hometown of Barron was also present at the ceremony. Speaking to the teenager, Rep. Romaine Quinn said: “Jayme, your strength, your resolve and your bravery is beyond incredible. You are truly an inspiration and a bright light in a time of sadness.”

Quinn added:

“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.”


In a statement on Twitter, FBI Milwaukee commended the teenager stating:

"FBI Milwaukee salutes Wisconsin teenager Jayme Closs today, surrounded by family and friends after being honored as a Hometown Hero before the WI State Assembly."

Jake Thomas Patterson held Closs captive in a cabin in Gordon, Wisconsin, for nearly three months. On October 15, 2018, he entered their home and fatally shot her parents, Denise, 46, and James Closs, 56.

In March, Patterson pleaded guilty to two intentional homicide charges and a kidnapping charge. He was set to be sentenced later this month.


The intentional homicide charges carry a life sentence as part of his plea agreement. Patterson’s criminal complaint stated that he’d targeted the teenager after seeing her getting on a school bus.

He then made two failed attempts to kidnap her before succeeding on the third attempt. The killer shot Closs’ father at the front door, and then confronted her and her mother while they hid in a bathroom.

There he shot and killed the teenager’s mother who tried to shield her, bound Closs with tape, and dragged her into the trunk of his vehicle. Closs managed to escape on January 10, while Patterson had left her alone after ordering her to stay under the bed.


Closs’ escape occurred after Patterson told her he was leaving for five or six hours. When she got outside she raced toward a woman walking a dog.

The woman, Jeanne Nutter, said: “I recognized her immediately,” after seeing “Her pictures are everywhere.” Nutter recalled how the teenager “was crying” and told her “‘I’m Jayme.'”

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