BARRON COUNTY (KSTP) — Jayme Closs grew up in the St. Peter Catholic Church in Cameron, Wisconsin.
Her family volunteered there for years.
The funeral for Jayme’s parents, James and Denise, was held at St. Peter shortly after they were shot to death inside their Barron County home last October.
And now, with Jayme’s miraculous escape from 88 days in captivity, a prayer and gratitude service to celebrate her safe return to relatives was held Sunday night. Dozens of people filled the sanctuary to help lift up Jayme, her family and each other after their journey through darkness that chilled northwest Wisconsin and beyond.
Father John Gerritts opened the ceremony with a thought.
“It’s a difficult situation where faith played a key role,” he said.
Seven different prayers of gratitude were shared for law enforcement, schools, childhood friends, the community, Jim and Denise and Jayme herself.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at the peak of the homicide and abduction investigation, there were 340 local, county, state and federal investigators involved.
“I know we can do anything now. I’ve seen it. We’ve done the impossible, it begins with a 13-year-old girl and ends with a community of 44,000 strong,” Fitzgerald said.
Diane Tremblay, the Superintendent of Schools in Barron County, reassured the family.
“Your Riverview family is here anyway, anytime we miss you and are proud of you,” Tremblay said.
Amanda Hoard is Jayme’s cousin and shared thoughts about Jayme’s childhood friends and the broader community.
“They share our tears, give hugs, call, offer more prayers than we will ever know,” she said.
There were prayers for Jim and Denise, and Jayme herself who endured the trauma of her parents’ murders and more horror after the nearly three-month struggle with a complete stranger, 21-year-old Jake Patterson. He is charged with holding her against her will at his home, an hour north of Barron in Gordon, Wisconsin.
Musicians also shared powerful lyrics of finding hope out of hopelessness. The crowd vowed to gently remind Jayme she has all she needs within herself to survive and thrive.
She proved that Jan. 10.