Former kidnapping victims say Jayme Closs, who was rescued almost three months after her alleged abduction by a man who also killed her parents, should be given plenty of space and time to recover from the trauma.
CHICAGO — Katie Beers’ joy quickly turned to deep concern when she learned 13-year-old Jayme Closs had been found alive in rural Wisconsin nearly three months after police say a man shot and killed her parents then abducted the girl from their home.
“She is going to have to grieve the loss of her parents and also come to terms with the fact she was abducted, escaped and whatever (other) hell she went through,” said Beers. “And it’s not going to be easy.”
Beers knows that better than most.
Sunday will mark 26 years since a then-10-year-old Beers was rescued from an underground concrete bunker in Bay Shore, New York, where she had been held captive for more than two weeks by a family friend who had lured her to his home with the promise of birthday presents.
As Jayme begins to process her trauma, experts and former victims say what she needs most is space and time to discuss it on her own terms. And with the help of a supportive and understanding family, she likely will be able to recover and live a happy life.
“One of the things that helped me recover so quickly is that nobody forced me to talk about what happened,” said Beers, 36, who is married and has two children. “I didn’t even do interviews until I was 30. I didn’t have to relive it every day.”
Authorities said Jayme was skinny, disheveled and wearing shoes too big for her when she approached a stranger and pleaded for help Thursday in the small north woods town of Gordon, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) from her hometown of Barron. Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was quickly arrested and jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges.
It’s unclear exactly what Jayme experienced — including whether she was coerced with threats or physically abused — so people must be careful how they interact with her, said Duane Bowers, a trauma therapist who works with families of missing and exploited children and adults.

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