Church service gives thanks for missing teen’s safe return

January 21, 2019
A "Welcome Home, Jayme!" sign is shown Jan. 16, 2019, in front of the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron, Wis., where her parents, James and Denise Closs, worked. Defense attorneys for the man accused of kidnapping Wisconsin teenager Jayme Closs and killing her parents acknowledged Wednesday that they're starting the case at a disadvantage after their client gave detectives a detailed confession and said they're not sure he can get a fair trial in the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)

CAMERON, Wis. (AP) — Residents of two Wisconsin communities gathered for a church service to give thanks for the safe return of a 13-year-old girl who was abducted after her parents were fatally shot at their home.

Jayme Closs escaped from the man accused of holding her captive for nearly three months on Jan. 10. The suspect, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, is charged with kidnapping Jayme and fatally shooting her parents after breaking into their home near Barron on Oct. 15.

St. Peter Catholic Church in Cameron held the funerals for Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs , last fall. The church hosted a happier service Sunday night for residents of Barron and Cameron to celebrate the reuniting of Jayme with family.

“I know this community can do anything now,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told people attending the church service. “I have seen it. We’ve done the impossible, and it starts with a 13-year-old girl and it ends with a community of 44,000 strong.”

Residents attending the service also expressed gratitude for the law enforcement officers who quickly apprehended the Patterson the same day Jayme escaped from the remote cabin where she was being held in Gordon, a town about an hour’s drive north of Barron. Investigators believe he targeted Jayme after first spotting her getting onto a bus near her home.

Patterson is due back in court for a preliminary hearing Feb. 6.

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