The case of 13-year-old Wisconsin resident Jayme Closs has gained national attention when the teen was found alive after she was missing for three months.
On Oct. 15, 2018, a 911 call was made from the Closs’ family home by an anonymous caller who simply asked for help. When authorities arrived, they found both of her parents tragically murdered, but Jayme was nowhere to be found.
An Amber alert was quickly issued in hopes of finding the young teenager.
Since that tragic night, Jayme’s family along with the local community have not given up hope and have continued to look for her. Investigators have received “a flood of tips,” according to KARE, over the past three months but hope kept fueling their search.
According to Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec, Jeanne Nutter was approached by a thin woman claiming to be Jayme Closs on Jan. 10. Nutter took Jayme to a nearby house, owned by Kristin Kasinskas, to alert authorities that she was found alive and safe, KMSP-TV reported.
Since Jayme’s safe return, a suspect has been taken into custody. The 21-year-old Gordon, Wisconsin, local has been charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the murder of Jayme’s parents and one count of kidnapping. Authorities soon arrested him when they found him driving about looking for Jayme.
Barron County Sheriff Fitzgerald praised the young girl for escaping on foot, saying, “Jayme is the hero in this case, there’s no question about it. She’s the one that helped break this case,” according to NBC News.
A great end to a harrowing story, right? Well, there’s one more silver living in this dark cloud.
According to CBS News, Jayme’s parents had worked at Jennie-O, a poultry brand of Hormel Foods. The company matched a $25,000 reward for anyone who would provide information about Jayme’s location.
Kasinkas said that although authorities haven’t approached her about the money, Jayme should get it “because she got herself out.”
In a classy move, the company has decided to give the money to Jayme since she, in effect, saved herself. “First and foremost, Jennie-O Turkey Store is a family,” president Steve Lykken said in a statement.
“The company has expressed its wishes to donate the $25,000 to Jayme. Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme’s needs today and in the future.”
That’s not all Jennie-O has done. The company has reached out to the FBI as well, trying to get its portion of the reward also given to Jayme.
Fitzgerald said that the company had done much to aid the girl and the community as a whole. “The partnerships created during this case will not only help Jayme and her family in the future but will continue to make us all stronger, led by the idea that we will never give up hope!” he said.
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