WI town dedicated to protecting Jayme Closs, held captive for 88 days after parents killed

Barron teen enjoying dance, school activities, aunt says

ByLiz Collin, WCCO
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Timeline: Missing Wis. teen Jayme Closs' kidnapping, discovery; Suspect Jake Thomas Patterson's arrest
88 days after her parents' murder, missing Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs was finally found, and her alleged kidnapper was arrested. Here's what happened between then and now.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The Jayme Closs kidnapping case made national headlines and rocked a small Wisconsin community. October 15 marked three years since the teen was abducted by a stranger after her parents were brutally murdered during a break-in. The teen broke free after being held captive for 88 days.

"It will always be there. It's always something that will be with us" said Barron resident Rod Nordby.

Mornings at Seasons Cafe in Barron, Wisconsin are best known for hot coffee and home-style cooking.

However, reflecting on dark moments from three years ago are still difficult, WCCO reported.

"When it initially happened, it was quite a shock for the community. We're not used to stuff like that happening here," Nordby said.

Nordby grew up in the area and can't help but think about all his community's been through.

It's the site of where the nightmare began inside the Closs home has since been demolished.

"I think it helps everyone, not to have to drive by the scene and know that's what happened there," Nordby said.

RELATED: Timeline: Missing Wis. teen Jayme Closs' kidnapping, discovery; Suspect Jake Thomas Patterson's arrest

"I think it's brought the community closer together, you know," added Jackie Raven.

Jackie Raven worked with Jayme's parents, James and Denise Closs, at the turkey plant in town.

"They were good people, very good people," Raven said. "Hardworking people."

She said residents in their small community have rallied around Jayme, who is now 16 years old and a high school student.

In January, her aunt shared that she is enjoying dance and school activities and is surrounded by loved ones.

At the request of Jayme's family, they asked law enforcement not to talk about another anniversary but instead to keep the focus on other missing kids and the hope for more happy endings.

Where cameras once lined the Barron County Justice Center for any news on this case, the faces of other kids serve as a reminder of the work that goes on.

"Jayme's story is the reason why we do what we do," said Angeline Hartmann with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Hartmann said Jayme's escape gave others hope -- families who still cling to her story to this day.

"Think when and how, and hopefully can this possibly happen to my family," Hartmann explained.

"I think Jayme is doing as well as she can," Nordby said as the town continues to look out for one of their own.

"Barron is a very tight-knit group. They stand behind things like this. I'm very proud of my town," Nordby said. "We're really happy for her and her new family. Life goes on."

The video featured is from a previous report.