Kidnapping Survivor Jayme Closs Honored as Hometown Hero at Public Event

The Wisconsin State Assembly honored 13-year-old kidnapping survivor Jayme Closs as a Hometown Hero at a public ceremony on Wednesday, local news station WISC reported. Closs, one of several to be honored at the ceremony in Madison, Wisconsin, escaped her captor after being held against her will for 88 days following the murder of both her parents. Her attendance at Wednesday's ceremony seems to be her first public appearance since she was found in January. “Jayme, your strength, your resolve and your bravery is beyond incredible,” Rep. Romaine Quinn during the ceremony. “You are truly an inspiration and a bright light in a time of sadness.” Closs was with friends and family during the ceremony, and her aunt—Jen Smith—spoke for her. “Speaking for her entire family, I have to say that Jayme is totally deserving of the hero part of this award. Her courage, her bravery and her spirit are things that inspire us and make us stronger and better,” Smith said. Closs’ captor, Jake Patterson, pleaded guilty to kidnapping her and shooting her parents late last year. He is slated to be sentenced on May 24, and faces life in prison.