A miracle in Barron

No one should have to endure what Jayme survived

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020


Jayme Closs, whose recent escape made national headlines, is among those whose disappearances was widely broadcast.

The town of Barron bore witness to a miracle last month.

Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs, who had been missing since Oct. 15 of last year, returned home on Jan. 10.

Following the murder of both her parents in their Barron County home, Jayme was abducted by 21-year-old Jake Patterson — a man who, according to NBC, had no previous criminal record.

Twenty-one years old. Let that sink in. Right around your age, right?

This is a man with no prior record. A man who no one suspected, from a small town — Gordon, Wis. — of less than 800 people, according to NBC.

And then we have this 13-year old girl barely — a teenager, whose parents were just taken from her by the very man who grabbed her, put her in a car trunk, traveled 66 miles away from her home and kept her trapped under a bed for 88 days, according to Fox News.

Despite this seemingly-unending series of traumas, Jayme managed to escape. Details are limited, but according to a “48 Hours” special on the young teen, Jayme escaped the remote Gordon cabin after Patterson had been away from the property for several hours.

According to Fox News, Patterson admitted to authorities that Jayme has always been his primary target, and he had intentions to abduct her and “kill if necessary.” No explanations have been given regarding Patterson’s motivation in kidnapping Jayme, but her aunt, who is now caring for her, told NBC she does not believe Jayme was physically harmed.

Since her escape, Jayme has been remaining out of the public eye and attending therapy, according to CBS.

We all saw the photos of this young girl plastered across local newspapers and news stations for the months Jayme was missing. To hear the story of how her parents were murdered, and she was taken, was devastating; and while I was brought to tears by the news of her return, my heart breaks for what Jayme must now endure.

The sudden loss of two parents is a blow I don’t even want to imagine. Being kidnapped by their murderer and held captive for three months is a fear I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

And no matter how much I think about all of this, my mind always comes back to one amazing, miraculous, inspiring fact: She escaped.

Like a scene from a horror moving with a happy ending, Jayme finally made it home.

Familiar with her story or not, we all have something to learn from this young woman. I could be real cliché and talk about “never giving up” or the triumph of the human spirit, but those ideas really don’t do her story justice.

Jayme Closs is a hero. Where some people may have given up hope, or accepted their fate, she kept fighting. She saw an opportunity, and she took it — and now, a dangerous man is off the streets.

I am inspired by this young woman. I wish all the best for her as she adjusts to her new life. Because it will be new, and probably very frightening. But she has endured much in terms of frightening things. I can’t imagine there are many challenges Jayme won’t be able to face now.

In light of all of this, I urge you all to take a moment and be grateful for the people who bring joy to your life. Be grateful that you are safe at home, or with people who would go to the ends of the earth to keep you from harm.

Even in our darkest, bleakest moments, there will always be people fighting for us, so long as we are willing to fight for ourselves.

Fuerstenberg can be reached at [email protected].