“She is enjoying dance, school activities and many other things as much as is possible in regards to now dealing with the COVID restrictions,” Closs’ aunt and legal guardian, Jennifer Naiberg Smith, told NBC. “She is surrounded by lots of loved ones.”
The now 15-year-old went missing in October 2018, shortly after her mom and dad were found dead in their home. Three months later, she was miraculously found alive and more details about her terrifying experience were revealed. In order to get back to safety in January 2019, she had to make a daring escape from her abductor, Jake Patterson.
Patterson said his motive for kidnapping Closs was “not black and white” in a note to NBC affiliate KARE.” He had previously told investigators that he targeted Closs as “the girl he was going to take” after spotting her getting on a school bus near her home.
“It’s weird,” he wrote. “I went from never committing a crime or really doing anything bad to doing the worst thing a human can do. Just one big f–-k up haha.”
He also seemed to hint at the type of relationship he had with the 13-year-old while he held her captive, adding hearts around her name and reminiscing on his time spent with her.
“My brother … got a puppy named ‘Vale’ a couple of weeks before [heart] Jayme [heart] ran away,” he wrote. “I love Mexican food too, but I like lots of stuff. Chocolate and berries are probably my favorite. Me and Jayme cooked a bunch of stuff. Cooking is another thing I like doing a lot.”
An insider exclusively told In Touch that Closs “doesn’t like to dwell on it much,” adding that “there are mostly good days for her now, but she misses her parents [James and Denise] terribly.”
“The only bright spot in this crazy ordeal is how family, friends and the entire town rallied around her to make her feel safe,” the insider continued. “Jayme likes living with her aunt and uncle and she’s happy being in school. She’s been to hell and back, so feeling grounded and loved, that helps the most. That’s what she’s grateful for.”
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