GORDON, Wis. – Jayme Closs, the Wisconsin teen who was missing for 88 days, was reunited with her aunt Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme, 13, planned to rejoin additional family members Friday and that her aunt has taken custody of her for now.
Jayme’s parents, James, 56, and Denise, 46, were killed during their daughter’s kidnapping in October when Jake Patterson allegedly blasted open the door of the Closs’ home with a shotgun and the goal of abducting Jayme.
“She is doing as well as circumstances allow,” Fitzgerald said.
Family friend Michelle Saffert said there was lots of screaming and crying when Jayme’s aunt first contacted her with the news. The family is ecstatic, said Saffert, of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
Relatives spent Friday preparing so Jayme felt safe and comfortable when she came home.
“It was miraculous,” Saffert said. “Just miraculous.”
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At a Friday news conference, Fitzgerald would not share details of what happened to Jayme during her confinement. Nor would he answer the question of whether she had been assaulted, saying he didn’t want to release details that might hinder her recovery.
Patterson was being held in the Barron County Jail on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Jayme, who was dirty and skinny with matted hair, fled the home Thursday afternoon after Patterson went out.
Jeanne Nutter, who was walking her dog, heard her yelling for help as the girl hurried down street about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
She rushed Jayme to a nearby home and banged on the door.
Patterson was arrested after Jayme provided the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department with his name and a description of his vehicle. Police believe Patterson may have been driving around looking for her when an officer spotted the car, pulled it over and arrested him, authorities said.
“Jayme is the hero in this case,” Fitzgerald said. “There’s no question about it.”
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