Kidnapped teenager Jayme Closs was presented with a Wisconsin Hometown Hero award at the State Capitol on Wednesday
Kidnapped teenager Jayme Closs has been spotted for the first time at a public event since she managed to escape from the Wisconsin cabin where she had been held captive for three months.
The 13-year-old, who was found alive in January after being abducted 88 days earlier, was presented with a Wisconsin Hometown Hero award at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
Jayme smiled as she was given a standing ovation by members of the Wisconsin State Assembly after being honored for her bravery and strong will.
It is the most public appearance to date for Jayme since she managed to escape her kidnapper.
Her aunt Jennifer Smith spoke on Jayme’s behalf as she thanked the people of her hometown for their support in the past few months.
Jayme stood behind her aunt but did not speak.
‘She greatly appreciates the honor… and the kindness of everyone involved,’ Smith said.
‘Speaking for her entire family, I have to say, Jayme is totally deserving of the hero part of this award.
‘Her courage, her bravery and her spirit are things that inspire us and make us stronger and better. Just like you, we want Jayme to know how much we love her.’
The FBI posted photos on social media of Jayme in the Capitol posing with her award.
Jayme was surrounded by her family and friends when she received the Hometown Hero award
The 13-year-old posed with her aunt Jennifer Smith and Rep. Romaine Quinn (right) after receiving her honor in the Assembly chamber on Wednesday
Jayme smiled as she was given a standing ovation by members of the Wisconsin State Assembly after being honored for her bravery and strong will
A nationwide search was launched for Jayme on October 15 last year after her parents -James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 – were found shot dead in their family home in Barron.
She was miraculously found alive on January 10 about an hour away from her hometown after managing to escape the remote cabin where she was being held.
Her abductor, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, has pleaded guilty to kidnapping Jayme and killing her parents.
Jayme has previously detailed to police the terrifying night she was kidnapped and her time in captivity.
Her barking dog woke her up on the night of October 15 and she went to alert her parents as a car driven by Patterson was coming up the driveway.
While her father went to the front door, Jayme said she hid in the bathroom clutching her mother with the shower curtain pulled shut.
Her abductor, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, has pleaded guilty to kidnapping Jayme and killing her parents
The image above shows the cabin in rural Wisconsin where Jake Patterson held 13-year-old Jayme Closs prisoner for nearly three months
The image above shows the filthy basement den where authorities say Jayme was held prisoner by her abductor
Patterson shot Jayme’s father as he entered the house before searching for Jayme and her mother.
He wrapped tape around Jayme’s mouth and head, taped her hands behind her back and taped her ankles together before shooting her mother in the head.
Jayme was thrown in the trunk of Patterson’s car and taken to his cabin.
During Jayme’s time in captivity, Patterson forced her to hide under a bed when he had friends over and penned her in with tote boxes and weights, warning that if she moved, ‘bad things could happen to her’.
He also turned up the radio so visitors couldn’t hear her.
Authorities searched for Jayme for months and collected more than 3,500 tips.
On January 10, Jayme escaped from the cabin while Patterson was away. She then flagged down a woman who was walking a dog and pleaded for help.
Police arrested Patterson minutes later when he set off searching the streets for her.
A nationwide search was launched for Jayme on October 15 last year after her parents -James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 – were found shot dead in their family home in Barron