Jayme Closs, who escaped from her alleged captor 88 days after she was kidnapped, will receive the $25,000 reward that Turkey products company Jennie-O offered for information on her disappearance

By Maura Hohman
January 24, 2019 10:48 AM
Advertisement

Jayme Closs, the Wisconsin 13-year-old who escaped her kidnapping 88 days after her parents were fatally shot, will receive the $25,000 reward offered by Turkey products company Jennie-O for information leading to her recovery.

Authorities discovered the 13 year-old went missing on Oct. 15 of last year, after her parents — James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, both of whom worked for Jennie-O — were found slain inside their home in Barron, Wisconsin. Jayme was missing and an AMBER Alert was issued for her. She escaped her alleged captor’s home in Gordon on Jan. 10.

The FBI and Jennie-O together created a fund of $50,000 for information that would help find Jayme. On Thursday, Hormel Foods, which owns Jennie-O, released a statement saying the company is working with law enforcement to get Jennie-O’s share of the reward to Jayme.

“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, in the statement, according to CNN. “Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme’s needs today and in the future.”

In the statement, Lykken said Jayme’s “bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world.”

As of Thursday, it’s unclear what will happen to the FBI’s funds. The couple who helped rescue Jayme earlier this month, Kristin and Peter Kasinskas, do not want the money, and Peter said Jayme should get it “because she got herself out,” Associated Press previously reported.

Jayme escaped alleged abductor 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson‘s cabin after he told her he was leaving for five to six hours, police have said.

She freed herself from underneath Patterson’s bed — where she routinely had to stay when he went out or had company over — threw on a pair of his shoes and fled the house.

Outside, alone and confused in the sparsely populated woods near Gordon, Jayme raced toward Jeanne Nutter, a dog walker who later took the teen to the Kasinskas home. They opened up around 4 p.m. to the sound of frantic knocking from a female neighbor. “This is Jayme Closs!” the woman said, the pair recalled to the Star Tribune. “Call 911!”

Courtesy Barron County Sheriff

“Jayme is a complete badass,” Jodie Arnold, who is first cousins with Jayme’s late mother Denise, previously told PEOPLE. “As far as I’m concerned she saved herself,” said Arnold, who credited Jayme’s “perseverance and will to live” for her freedom.

Similarly, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald previously said, “Jayme is the hero in this case, there’s no question about it. She’s the one who helped us break the case.”

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Patterson is now in jail on a $5 million bail, charged with murder, kidnapping and armed burglary. He has not yet entered a plea.

“This is a very tragic situation,” Patterson’s lawyers said in a joint statement, according to local media reports. “There is a substantial amount of information, interest, and emotion involved in this case. Mr. Patterson’s legal team will be relying on the integrity of our judicial system to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and respected.”

Patterson’s lawyers did not return PEOPLE’s previous requests for comment.

Patterson is due back in court Feb. 6.