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Social Worker, Teacher Helped Closs in Moments after Escape

Renee Passal
Updated: January 11, 2019 06:28 PM

When Jayme Closs escaped from her captor Thursday, she found two women who were well-equipped to help: one with decades of social work experience and another who teaches middle school.

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Jeanne Nutter says she was walking her dog near the Gordon cabin she owns with her husband when she noticed Closs, the 13-year-old girl who was abducted from her Barron home after her parents were murdered in October.

"The first thing Jayme said was, 'I'm lost. I'm Jayme,'" Nutter recounted Friday.

Nutter recognized Closs right away. She said she was wearing shoes that weren't hers and a baggy sweatshirt.

Nutter has 37 years of social work experience, in protective services, and has worked with children who have been traumatized. She used that training to stay calm and help the girl.

"She was scared, and I think she was in shock," Nutter said. "This child needs to be someplace safe, and you need to get her there now. You need police now. That was my mission, and that's what we did."

“I hung on to her, because it was so icy.”

Nutter took Closs to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas, who live four houses down from the place where 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson allegedly held Closs hostage.

Kristin Kasinskas taught Patterson at Northwood Middle School in Minong, but doesn’t know him as an adult.

They tried not to ask Closs too many questions. Kristin said, "She was pretty quiet, she was kind of smiling, when we talked to her. She said hello to the kids, she was very sweet."

But they were able to get the name of the suspect and his vehicle, so they could relay that to police. Patterson was arrested a short time later. It was a little intense before that arrest, so the police had the kids in the house head downstairs. Peter said he stood at the back door, to make sure no one could come in that way.

Peter, who works at Louisiana Pacific in Hayward, said Closs had no idea that there was a massive campaign to look for her. "When it happened three months ago, I didn't think she'd be alive. To see her walk into your house, it was like seeing a ghost. It took my breath away. Still have to wrap my mind and head around it."

 The couple says Closs told them when Patterson had people over, he would hide her.

It's a big development, in a small town.

"It is unsettling to know this happened here. I've been up here six or seven times since October," said Nutter, who lives south of Eau Claire. "This is my place, where I come for comfort and peace."

Now, she's helped provide peace for thousands who were hoping and praying for Jayme's safe return.

"I'm not sure why I decided to come up yesterday," Nutter added. "But she found me.I'm just hoping for healing for her."

Credits

Renee Passal

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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