Wisconsin kidnapping victim Jayme Closs will receive a $25,000 reward for rescuing herself earlier this month after surviving months in captivity.
After the FBI offered a $25,000 reward for any information leading to Jayme’s rescue and the arrest of her alleged captor, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, the Jennie-O Turkey Store — where Jayme’s slain parents worked — matched the agency’s offering, bringing the total value of the reward to $50,000.
When Jayme, 13, escaped Patterson’s home in Gordon, she caught the attention of a nearby dog walker and ultimately stayed in Kristin and Peter Kasinskas’ home, where she waited for police to arrive. The couple said the reward should go to Jayme “because she got herself out.”
On Wednesday, the chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods, the parent company of Jennie-O Turkey Store, said the brand will be granting Jayme a $25,000 reward in the form of a trust fund.
“Her bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world,” Jim Snee said. “Barron is an incredibly strong community and one that never lost hope. We celebrated with the community, and the world, that Jayme is home.”
Steve Lykken, president of Jennie-O Turkey Store, released his own statement:
First and foremost, Jennie-O Turkey Store is a family. Here in Barron our Jennie-O family is dealing with a very tragic situation. 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. The company has expressed its wishes to donate the $25,000 to Jayme. Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme’s needs today and in the future.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald thanked Hormel and Jennie-O for the kindhearted gesture, noting law enforcement officers “also agree that Jayme is the hero in this case and happy they have chosen her to receive the company’s reward contribution.”
“The partnerships created during this case will not only help Jayme and her family in the future but will continue to make us all stronger, led by the idea that we will never give up hope,” he added.
As for Patterson, he was charged last week with two counts of first-degree murder for the death of Jayme’s mother and father as well as kidnapping and armed burglary.
Jayme, for her part, has been placed in the custody of her aunt, Jennifer Smith, according to USA Today.
It’s unclear what the FBI plans to do with the $25,000 reward it offered.