Teen snatched after parents killed speaks
Jayme Closs says she feels "stronger every day" a year after being kidnapped from her home and held hostage in a remote cabin for 88 days.
"I really want to thank everyone for all the kindness and concern that people all over the country have shown me," she said in a statement to ABC News in the United States.
"I am very happy to be home and getting back to the activities that I enjoy. I love hanging out with all of my friends, and I feel stronger every day!"
Jayme was snatched from her home at Barron in rural Wisconsin on October 15 last year, after 21-year-old Jakes Thomas Patterson murdered both her parents.
Patterson shot her father James, 56, through the front door, then broke into the bathroom where Jayme was huddling with her mother Denise, 46, in the bathtub.
After binding Jayme's wrists and ankles together with duct tape and shooting her mother, Patterson loaded the then-13-year-old into the boot of his car and smuggled her back to his cabin 120 kilometres away.
Jayme spent 88 days trapped in captivity, hidden under Patterson's bed, before she managed to escape on January 10 while he was out of the house.
She pushed away the weights that had held her locked away and ran from the cabin, eventually finding a dog walker who took her to a neighbour's house and called police.
Patterson was sentenced to life in prison in May, with Barron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler describing him as the "embodiment of evil".
The court heard Patterson had written notes while in his jail cell, explaining it had been his ultimate fantasy to keep a young girl prisoner, as well as torture and control her.
"After a while … I stopped fighting my fantasies. I thought about it every day," the court heard Patterson wrote.
SHERIFF REMEMBERS KIDNAPPING ONE YEAR ON
At a press conference on Monday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme had taught him courage, resilience and hope.
"You had the courage to survive and showed us that you never gave up hope," he said.
The family's lawyer, Chris Gramstrup, said Jayme had had "a good summer" hiking through state parks with her family and friends.
He said she had a "big family" and had attended a lot of weddings and birthdays, including a big celebration for her own birthday.
"She's a very social young woman and she really enjoys reconnecting and being with her good friends," he said.
"She continues to work very, very hard on her emotional wellbeing, she's moving forward courageously and she's reclaiming her life."
Earlier this year, Jayme was honoured by state politicians as a "hometown hero".
She appeared with her family at the event, but her aunt Jen Smith accepted the award on her behalf.