Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old who was kidnapped last year and held in a cabin for several months before managing to escape, says that she’s enjoying spending time with her friends and that she feels like she’s gathering more strength with each passing day.
Closs was kidnapped on Oct. 15, 2018, from her house in Barron, Wisconsin. Jake Patterson, 21, barged into her home and shot dead Closs’s parents before kidnapping her and holding her in a remote cabin until she made her escape on Jan. 10.
In a statement, Closs, now 14, said she’s been focusing on living her life and embracing her freedom.
“I really want to thank everyone for all the kindness and concern that people all over the country have shown me,” Closs said the statement, which was obtained by ABC. “I am very happy to be home and getting back to the activities that I enjoy. I love hanging out with all of my friends, and I feel stronger every day!”
Jayme has been hiking with friends and her aunt, Jen Smith, and celebrated a number of weddings and birthdays with relatives.
“Jayme continues to work very hard on her emotional well-being. She is moving forward and courageously reclaiming her life,” Smith and the family’s attorney, Chris Gramstrup, added in a statement.
“She has also been able to spend a good deal of time with her friends, just hanging out and being a typical teenager. Jayme’s incredible spirit and strength continue to inspire everyone around her.”
Patterson admitted to kidnapping Jayme and killing her parents and was sentenced on May 25 to two life sentences and 25 years.
Jayme was not in the courtroom but an attorney read a statement she composed.
“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I loved away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my Mom and my Dad. I loved my Mom and Dad very much and they loved me very much. They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever,” she said.
“I felt safe in my home, and I loved my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory.”
The teenager said at the time that she had her family installed an alarm to make her feel safe enough to sleep and said she struggled to go out in public after what happened.
“But there’s 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. I will always have my freedom and he will not,” she added.
“Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave. He was not.”
Jayme told the court that her kidnapper should “stay locked up forever.”