A year after being held captive in a rural Wisconsin town for 88 days and escaping her young kidnapper, Jayme Closs said she is feeling “stronger every day.”
"I really want to thank everyone for all the kindness and concern that people all over the country have shown me," Jayme said in a statement to ABC News. "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's life changed on Oct. 15, 2018, when her parents were murdered by 21-year-old Jake Patterson inside their Barron, Wisconsin, home. Patterson kidnapped then-13-year-old Jayme and held her captive in his cabin for over two months before she escaped in January.
She’s now acclimating to her new life with the help of friends and family. Now 14, Jayme has been spending her time hanging out like a “typical teenager,” according to a statement released by her family. She’s been hiking and has happily celebrated weddings and birthdays with her family.
"Jayme continues to work very hard on her emotional well-being," the family’s statement also said. "She is moving forward and courageously reclaiming her life.”
The statement echoed testimony from Jayme after her escape. The teen wrote of her abductor, “I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not. Jake Patterson can never take my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t."
Patterson confessed to authorities that he had seen Jayme get off the school bus days before the murders and kidnapping. While she was being held captive, Patterson would make Jayme stay under a bed in his home surrounded with heavy containers.
On Jan. 10, Jayme was able to get out of the home and ran up to a woman who was walking her dog and asked for help. The woman called police and Jayme was taken to safety.
Patterson was charged with two counts of homicide and one count of kidnapping. He later pleaded guilty, saying in a letter to a KARE-TV reporter, “I knew when I was caught (which I thought would happen a lot sooner) I wouldn’t fight anything,” Patterson wrote.
Patterson is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.