Hormel Foods and Jenny-O Turkey that donated $25,000 as a reward for the return of Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs said now that she’s back safe and sound, it will give her the money.
Jayme, 13, approached a woman walking her dog and asked for help after managing to escape the remote cabin where she had been held captive for 88 days.
Jeanne Nutter rushed Jayme—who had been walking in frigid weather with no coat—to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas, who called 911.
When the issue of who should get the reward came up, the couple told The Associated Press that if anybody should get the money, it’s Jayme “because she got herself out.”
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a press conference the day after Jayme’s Jan. 10 escape that the teen had shown incredible initiative.
“Jayme was the hero in the case. Jayme was the champion that finally said enough is enough,” he was cited by CNN as saying at the press conference. “We can’t be more proud of Jayme.”
“We are overjoyed at the news of Jayme’s safe return,” said Jim Snee, the president and chief executive officer of Minnesota-based Hormel Foods, according to CNN. “Her bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world.”
Hormel Foods is the parent company of the Jennie-O Turkey Store, which employed Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs, who were shot and killed during Jayme’s violent abduction.
“Barron is an incredibly strong community and one that never lost hope,” Snee said. “We celebrated with the community, and the world, that Jayme is home.”
“While we are still mourning the loss of longtime family members Jim and Denise, we are so thankful for Jayme’s brave escape and that she is back in Barron,” said Steve Lykken, the president of Jennie-O Turkey Store, according to CNN. “Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme’s needs today and in the future.”
Missing Girl Found Safe
Jayme stunned the community of Gordon, Wisconsin, by appearing near a wooded area about 70 miles north of where she was last seen, several months after her Oct. 15 abduction.
The woman who encountered Jayme took the girl to the Kasinskas home because she feared her own home was too close to that of Jake Patterson, who authorities said has confessed to kidnapping Jayme after killing her parents at their Barron home.
“Hi, I have a young lady at my house right now and she says her name is Jayme Closs,” Kristin Kasinskas told the dispatcher in the 911 call after Jayme was settled in her house.
As Peter Kasinskas guarded the door with a gun, Kasinskas and Nutter spoke with the dispatcher for about 30 minutes until authorities arrived at the remote area.
“I was walking my dog and we were almost home and she’s walking toward me crying saying, ‘You gotta help me, you gotta help me,’” Nutter told the dispatcher. “And I didn’t want to go into my cabin because it’s too close to Patterson’s house.”
She added, “His name is Jake Thomas Patterson and apparently his house is two doors down from our cabin, so we’re kind of scared because he might come.”
A criminal complaint reported on by The Associated Press offers a detailed accounting of how Jayme was abducted from her Wisconsin home and held captive for three months after an intruder killed both of her parents.
The man charged in the case, Jake Thomas Patterson, is accused of hiding her in a 2.5-foot space under his bed for hours at a time, warning her that if she tried to flee “bad things would happen.”
The complaint says Patterson kept Jayme trapped in his remote cabin before she took advantage of an opportunity to flee—and ran.
The accused did not know Jayme, the complaint states, but saw her get on a school bus one day and decided he would take her. His motivation remains unknown.
Patterson’s grandfather said the family had no idea that he had allegedly kidnapped a girl and had held her for months at the cabin.
“Nobody had any clues up until this thing happened,” Jim Moyer told ABC following Jayme’s escape from captivity on Jan. 10.
“Nobody will ever know what went on in his mind,” said Moyer. “I can’t fathom anything in his life that could change him so drastically. It has to be some kind of a twist in the mindset.”
Patterson has been charged with two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
“We are absolutely heartbroken,” Moyer said. “It’s wrenching to deal with.”
NTD reporter Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.