The emergence of 13-year-old Jayme Closs after a months-long disappearance following the deaths of her parents has resulted in joy and relief from her surviving family members and local law enforcement. The woman who found her, Jeanne Nutter, told her story to the Law & Crime Network in an interview Friday, less than 24 hours after she discovered the teen. Nutter initially did not wish to be identified, but has since decided to speak publicly. Also joining her was Peter Kasinkas, whose home Nutter and Closs went to in order to alert authorities.
“The real hero is not me, it’s Jayme, who was able to leave the house and find me on the road,” Nutter told Law & Crime Network host Heather Hansen. “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
Nutter said she didn’t recognize Closs at first, but said, “When I saw her, I knew she was in trouble,” pointing out that Closs appeared to be in a hurry.
“This young girl approached me and she said she needed help, she was lost, she didn’t know where she was.” Having been a child protection social worker in the past, Nutter knew what to do. “I kind of got into that mode automatically,” she said.
Closs then identified herself, and Nutter knew she had to get her some place safe.
“I knew the person who had her was not a good person,” she said.
Nutter said she didn’t have her phone on her at the time, which is why she brought Closs to the nearby Kasinkas home.
“I came to their house, knocked on their door, and said, ‘Please call 911, I think I have Jayme Closs with me.'”
Kasinkas was in disbelief when he realized what had happened, saying he “instantly” recognized Closs when he saw her.
“I basically went into shock. I mean, it was like I was literally seeing a ghost,” Kasinkas told Law & Crime. “I didn’t think she was alive, and then to see that in my kitchen was a shocker.”
Earlier Friday morning, law enforcement officials in Barron County, Wisconsin announced that they have apprehended a suspect in the case, identifying him as 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson.
Kasinkas said that Closs identified Patterson when she was in the house.
“She said she did not know him before this happened,” Kasinkas said.
Kasinkas said he asked Closs what kind of vehicle her captor was driving, and then relayed that information to authorities while calling 911. Police arrived about 20 minutes after Closs showed up at his door, Kasinkas said.
Patterson is now facing charges that include two counts of first-degree homicide for allegedly murdering Closs’ parents, and one count of kidnapping for allegedly abducting Closs.
[Image via Barron County Sheriff’s Office]