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WATCH: Closs family, authorities thank community for support

BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WXOW) – Appreciation by the family and authorities was in evidence following the sentencing of Jake Patterson Friday afternoon in Barron County.

Three people spoke at a brief news conference. No one took any questions from the assembled media present.

Jennifer Smith, Jayme Closs’ aunt, said of her niece, “She has made a great deal of progress” after Jayme’s escape in January. Smith said she’s catching up on homework and spending time with her dog. Smith said that people around the community and around the world have sent gifts, donations, and notes of support. She said Jayme has looked at each and every one of them. Smith thanked everyone in the community who supported the family during the ordeal.

Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright: “This is a proper and just sentence in this case.” He said he hoped that Jayme can give a measure of comfort that Patterson will never terrorize her again and that a measure of justice was obtained for James and Denise Closs. He went on to thank the Barron County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald for their work in the case. 

Fitzgerald also thanked a number of people, but began by praising the girl whose efforts led to this day, Jayme Closs. “Thank you to that person who led us with her strength and will to not give up.”

He also thanked the community for their love and support throughout the ordeal. He was appreciative of their helping search, cooked, and showed support was all the help and thanks they needed, Fitzgerald said. “…to have the support and backing-this makes our job of keeping the world safe a whole lot easier.”

“Also we can learn from this 13-year-old girl to never give up hope. No matter how bad a day you have, you always have people who care about you. So, never give up hope. From all of my deputies and myself, thank you.”


Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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