Elizabeth Smart, an outspoken advocate on the horrors of kidnapping following her own capture in 2002, called the rescue of 13-year-old Jayme Closs “a miracle.”
In an Instagram post Friday, Smart wrote, “What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!! No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive.”
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What a miracle!!! Jayme Closs has been found!!!! I’m so thrilled to hear the news. What has been such a heart wrenching tragedy finally has some happiness in the story. I’m praying for Jayme and all her family that they can have a joyous reunion and as the rest of the country celebrates alongside this happy occasion we all are mindful to give the family their space and privacy on their road to finding a new sense of normal and moving forward. I have no doubt Jayme and her family will forever appreciate the efforts and prayers of the many thousands of people who contributed and kept them in their thoughts and prayers! I hope we may all continue to support and embrace Jayme as she reclaims her life and comes to terms with the reality of her situation. What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!! No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive. May god bless you Jayme Closs and may we all continue to search for every missing child. #miracleshappen #novictimblaming #hope #findingnormal #survivor #strong #brave
Smart’s post came one day after Closs was found alive in Gordon, Wisconsin, on Thursday afternoon. She had been missing since Oct. 15.
Closs, dirty and malnourished, was rescued after she made her identity known to a nearby dog walker, who ultimately helped her call local law enforcement authorities. The young teenager’s suspected captor was tracked down soon thereafter.
“Praise the Lord,” Closs’ aunt Sue Allard told the Star Tribune. “It’s the news we’ve been waiting on for three months. I can’t wait to get my arms around her. I just can’t wait.”
Kelly Engelhardt, another one of Closs’ aunts, said, “I mean, I’m shocked. It’s what we’ve prayed for every single day.”
Closs’ disappearance in October coincided with her parents’ double-murder, a case that drew national attention. The young girl was in the family’s home in Barron County when her mother and father were fatally shot. She vanished soon thereafter, spurring a nationwide investigation involving the FBI.
Ultimately, Closs was found about 45 minutes away from her home. Her captor has been identified as 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson. He was discovered in a nearby vehicle a few minutes after Closs was found by local residents.
Patterson, who has no prior criminal record, is being held in Barron County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder for the death of Closs’ parents and one count of kidnapping.