On January 10, 13-year-old Wisconsin girl Jayme Closs, who had been missing since her parents were found murdered nearly three months ago, has been found alive. Her suspected abductor is in custody.
Authorities have given little information about how Closs was able to escape. However, neighbors near where she was found in Gordon, Wisconsin, have revealed details over her recovery.
When Closs got away from her captor, who was holding her about 100 miles from her home in Barron, Wisconsin, she ran up to a woman who was walking her dog.
That woman was former social worker Jeanne Nutter. She says her instincts kicked in when she heard the girl yelling for help.
“I went to her and she just sort of grabbed onto me and she told me who she was. I’ve been a social worker my whole life. I was in child protection, so I believe my (child protection) personality just turned on,” Nutter said. “My goal was to get her someplace safe, to call 911.”
Nutter knocked on doors until she found someone to help them. A neighbor, Kristin Kasinskas told TODAY that on Thursday afternoon, a neighbor who had been walking a dog pounded on her door. Standing next to her was a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair and wearing oversized shoes.
“She knocked on our door, and then actually opened our door and said, ‘Call 911. This is Jayme Closs!'” Kasinskas said. “We recognized Jayme immediately. I mean, her picture has been everywhere around here. Billboards and things. We recognized her immediately.”
On October 15 around 1 a.m., police responded to a 911 call from Denise Closs' cellphone. In the call, the 911 dispatcher heard "a lot of yelling." The police found James and Denise Closs dead and Jayme missing.
Kasinskas told today that Jayme looked unkept, but she appeared calm. She was not crying when she walked into Kasinskas's home, and she refused food or drink.
“She seemed kind of in shock, and kind of timid, but she did talk to us a little bit. She came in and sat down in our living room and was able to have a conversation with us,” Kasinskas said.
Kasinskas added, “She did state who she believed had her, and she did give us a little information about the person’s car. But other than that she didn’t give us a ton of details. She kind of talked about being locked up or hidden when this person had to leave, but she did not go into any detail about how she got away.”
Kasinskas said she recognized the name of the person Jayme gave. However, she said it was “not somebody I knew well by any means.”
Nutter and her husband live south of Eau Claire, and they have a cabin outside of Gordon. They wanted to get away for a few days and arrived at their cabin Thursday.
“I’m just so glad that she’s safe,” said Nutter emotionally. “She’s a traumatized child. I believe she was just may be in shock,” she said.
She added, “I’m just happy that she’s safe. I feel like it’s sort of a miracle that she’s still alive. I’m glad my dog wanted to go for a walk and we did and there she was. My goal was to get her to a safe place and I did. The police were amazing.”
The suspect is in custody. Police have blocked off a cabin where they believe Jayme was being held.
More details will be released at the press conference today.