Since 13-year-old Jayme Closs' escape from a Wisconsin cabin where she'd been held for nearly three months, there's been a question as to who will get the $50,000 in reward money pledged for information that would lead to her rescue.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the teen would get at least half of it from the company that employed her parents.
Closs had been missing since Oct. 15 when Jake Thomas Patterson allegedly broke into her family's home outside Barron, Wisconsin and fatally shot her parents, James and Denise Closs. Earlier this month, Closs managed to escape her captor and seek help.
The FBI had offered a $25,000 reward for any information leading to her rescue and her parents’ former employee Jennie-O Turkey Store tacked on another $25,000 to that reward.
Hormel Foods, which owns Jennie-O Turkey Store, announced on Wednesday that the $25,000 will go to the teen, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
“Her bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world," Hormel Foods CEO Jim Snee said in a statement. "Barron is an incredibly strong community and one that never lost hope. We celebrated with the community, and the world, that Jayme is home."
Jennie-O Turkey Store President Steve Lykken said the slain couple were longtime employees and that “here in Barron our Jennie-O family is dealing with a very tragic situation,” according to ABC News. “While we are still mourning the loss of longtime family members Jim and Denise, we are so thankful for Jayme’s brave escape and that she is back in Barron.”
He said he hopes the money will go towards a trust fund for the teen, both for her to use now and in the future.
The neighbors that she ran to for help on the day she rescued herself have made it clear that they wanted the money to go to Closs.
"Because she got herself out," Kristin Kasinskas said. She and her husband Peter called 911 after Closs and another neighbor, Jeanne Nutter, who was walking her dog when the teen approached her earlier this month, banged on their door for assistance.
The couple said they have not been offered the reward money, but they told CNN earlier this month that if they were, they wouldn’t want it. They think that if the money belongs to anyone, it should be Closs herself.
It’s not clear where the other $25,000 will go.
"That's a question for someone else other than me," District Attorney Brian Wright told CNN when asked about the reward money earlier this month. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told national news outlet that his department will soon discuss the matter with the FBI.
Since her escape, Closs has been reunited with family in Wisconsin.
Patterson has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of kidnapping and armed burglary.
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