Elizabeth Smart: Recovery of kidnapped Wisconsin teen ‘a miracle’; officials ID suspect

Elizabeth Smart, kidnapping survivor and advocate, calls the recovery of kidnapped teen Jayme Closs (inset) a miracle. Photos: Gephardt Daily; Instagram

WISCONSIN, Jan. 11, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah’s Elizabeth Smart is hailing the recovery of kidnapped Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs as “a miracle,” and officials have released the name of the man charged with Closs’ kidnapping and the homicide of both her parents.

“What a miracle!!!,” Smart posted on her Instagram account. “Jayme Closs has been found!!!! I’m so thrilled to hear the news.”

Closs, 13, was recovered three months after her parents, James and Denise Closs, were fatally shot in their home, and the teen was abducted from the scene.

Wisconsin law enforcement officials said in a Friday morning news conference that Closs was found safe after escaping a rural Wisconsin house, about 70 miles from her home, where she had been held by her captor.

Jake Thomas Patterson. Photo: Barron County (Wis.) Jail

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, has been charged in the case, booked into jail on initial charges of two counts of intentional homicide and one of kidnapping.

Officials said at the news conference that it appears Closs’ parents were killed so the suspect could take the teen.

Smart, 31, is perhaps the country’s best known kidnapping survivor, and works as an advocate and activist for other survivors. She was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City in 2002 at age 14 by Brian David Mitchell, and was recognized and recovered nine months later.

Smart tagged her Instagram post on Closs with #miracleshappen #novictimblaming #hope #findingnormal #survivor #strong #brave.

“What has been such a heart wrenching tragedy finally has some happiness in the story,” Smart wrote in her post. “I’m praying for Jayme and all her family that they can have a joyous reunion and as the rest of the country celebrates alongside this happy occasion we all are mindful to give the family their space and privacy on their road to finding a new sense of normal and moving forward.

“I have no doubt Jayme and her family will forever appreciate the efforts and prayers of the many thousands of people who contributed and kept them in their thoughts and prayers! I hope we may all continue to support and embrace Jayme as she reclaims her life and comes to terms with the reality of her situation. What a brave, strong, and powerful survivor!!!!

“No matter what may unfold in her story let’s all try to remember that this young woman has SURVIVED and whatever other details may surface the most important will still remain that she is alive. May god bless you Jayme Closs and may we all continue to search for every missing child.”

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