Last October 15, 2018, Jake Patterson broke into the home of 13-year-old Jayme Closs in Barron, Wisconsin and shot her parents to death before kidnapping her.
What followed next was a story of true courage and strength of will.
Patterson had brought Closs to an isolated cabin located 60 miles from her home but 88 days later, she managed to escape and seek help from strangers.
On May 24, 2019, the 21-year-old Patterson was sentenced to life in prison.
Closs’ story was so inspiring that even her local state representative recognized her with a Hometown Hero award.
During the awarding ceremony, Wisconsin state representative Romaine Quinn said, “Jayme, your strength, your resolve, and bravery is beyond incredible. You are truly an inspiration and a bright light during a time of sadness.”
At Patterson’s sentencing just over a week later, Closs, who was not present in court, wrote a powerful statement that was read aloud by her family’s attorney, Chris Gramstrup.
“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad,” she wrote.
She continued, “My parents and my home are the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory. I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep.”
She also described how her anxiety prevents her from enjoying the “ordinary things” such as dancing and going out with friends.
But she didn’t dwell on what she lost but also proclaimed what Patterson could never take from her.
“There are some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me,” she wrote. “He can’t take my freedom. He thought he could own me and he was wrong. I’m smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.”
She added that her courage and spirit can never be taken away.
“He can’t ever change me or take away who I am. He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life,” Closs concluded. “I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not. Jake Patterson will never have any power over me.”