It takes a village. In an exclusive interview with In Touch, a family friend of Jayme Closs’ aunt Jennifer Smith, Michelle Saffert, talked about how the family is doing and how Jennifer never gave up hope when it came to the search for her niece. “Jennifer’s over-the-moon happy, very happy to be with Jayme. She’s an extremely strong woman. She never lost hope in finding her,” Michelle told In Touch.

13-year-old Jayme went missing at the same time her parents, James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were murdered in October. She was miraculously found alive after being seen 70 miles north of her family’s home in Gordon, WI. She was able to escape from her alleged kidnapper, Jake Patterson, and is now “doing well,” according to Michelle, after her unspeakable ordeal.

“I saw an interview online and Jennifer had all of Jayme’s Christmas presents waiting for her,” Michelle told In Touch. “She constantly had hope, which I think radiated to the whole community, to continue to fight and pray and share pictures and do anything anyone could because Jennifer carried that hope with her all the time. She never gave up and she was working with authorities.”

Michelle then added that when it comes to Jayme’s journey and what will happen now, “The community has really pulled together just to bring hope to each other but I don’t think anybody’s trying to see Jayme at this point. Everybody’s allowing her to do whatever it is she needs to do. And the family will reach out when they’re ready and they need to.”

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Jayme’s kidnapping set off a massive search that lasted for months. On Oct. 20, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald shared an update on the search on Facebook, and noted that “Investigators have received over a thousand tips and have thoroughly investigated over 800 of them.” He said they used “every resource available” and “conducted hundreds of interviews” and “multiple searches” to try to find Jayme.

All those efforts paid off and Jayme is now home, where — with the help of family like Jennifer — she can hopefully begin to heal.

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