Faith

Wisconsin Teen’s Church Never Gave Up Hope for Her Safe Return

Young Jayme Closs broke free of her captor — 'God was listening to everybody's begging'

The entire time Jayme Closs was missing, her church kept a candle burning as a symbol of hope that she would one day return.

And after 88 days of praying and petitioning God for the safe return of the 13-year-old girl in a small northwestern Wisconsin town, the sign in front of St. Peter’s Catholic Church was changed to: “Welcome Home, Jayme.”

“God was listening to everybody’s begging, multiple times we just said ‘please,'” Patty Gerber, St. Peter’s parish director and close friend of Jayme’s late mom, told KSTP.

Just 24 hours before the teen was found, Gerber had set a place for her in her classroom with a binder full of prayers to show that she was not giving up hope.

Related: What Happened to Jayme Closs Is Miraculous

“I believe in miracles, too. Whether you call this a miracle or not, I think the prayers of her family especially were answered,” Gerber said.

The family of Jayme Closs never gave up hope after she was abducted during a home invasion that left her parents dead three months ago.

“It’s just a miracle that she got away from him,” Robert Nailberg, Closs’ grandfather, told KARE 11.

“This is what we prayed for,” Elly Engelhardt, Closs’ aunt, told KARE. “Every day there was hope.”

On Sunday, churchgoers in the town of Barron dedicated prayer and praise that Jayme is now home with her family.

In October, St. Peter’s held the funerals for Denise and James Closs.

The family requested the church videotape the service for Jayme, so she would be able to view it one day.

On Thursday, Closs reportedly flagged down a person walking a dog in Gordon, Wisconsin, and asked for help.

The 13-year-old was reported missing on October 15 after her parents — James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 — were gunned down inside their home in Barron County, located about 80 miles northeast of Minneapolis.

Officials determined Jayme was inside the home when her parents were murdered.

But then the trail went cold.

The suspect in the teen’s disappearance was identified as 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, of Gordon.

She was eventually placed on the top of the FBI’s kidnapping and missing persons list and, while details were scarce, authorities continued to suggest Jayme was alive.

The suspect in the teen’s disappearance was identified as 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, of Gordon.

He was arrested Thursday on homicide and kidnapping charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.

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