Jennie-O to Donate $25,000 in Reward Money to Jayme Closs

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
January 24, 2019US News
Jennie-O to Donate $25,000 in Reward Money to Jayme Closs
Jayme Closs, 13, right, with her aunt Jennifer Smith, in a photograph taken on Jan. 11, 2019, one day after Closs escaped from captivity in Gordon, Wis. (Jennifer Smith via AP)

BARRON, Wis.—Turkey products company Jennie-O says it will donate the $25,000 it had offered in reward money for information leading to Jayme Closs directly to the 13-year-old girl.

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.

jayme closs missing wisconsin teen found
Jayme Closs, 13, went missing and was found on Jan. 10, 2019. (Barron County Sheriff’s Department)

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.”

Twenty-one-year-old Jake Patterson is charged with kidnapping and homicide.

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.

Jake Thomas Patterson mugshot
Jake Thomas Patterson, who has been jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges in the October 2018 killing of a Wisconsin couple and abduction of their teen daughter, Jayme Closs. Closs was found alive in Gordon, Wisconsin on Jan. 10, 2019. (Barron County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

“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.”

The FBI and Jennie-O contributed a total of $50,000 for information on Jayme’s whereabouts. Jennie-O and its parent company, Hormel Foods, announced Thursday that they’re working with law enforcement to get Jennie-O’s share of the reward to Jayme.

It’s not clear what the FBI will do with the $25,000 it offered. Details on FBI rewards are generally not disclosed.

The Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.

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