- Jeanne Nutter was out walking her dog on Thursday when she came across Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin teen who had been missing for nearly three months.
- Nutter sat down with “CBS This Morning” to detail what it was like helping Jayme in her first moments of freedom.
- Nutter used her training as a former social worker to keep Jayme calm and get her to safety.
The woman who came across a disoriented Jayme Closs just moments after the teen escaped the basement where she was held captive for nearly three months is sharing what that emotional moment was like.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Jeanne Nutter said she was walking her dog on Thursday when she saw an under-dressed Jayme on the road just outside her house in Gordon, Wisconsin – about an hour north of the town Jayme disappeared from in October the night her parents were murdered.
Nutter says she recognised Jayme right away since her picture was everywhere. She says she knew something was wrong right away because the teen looked “in distress” and was wearing just a sweatshirt, leggings, and slippers in the freezing temperatures.
“I figured she left wherever she had been in a hurry. A lot of things went through my head. I quickened my pace and got to her, and she just sort of fell into me and said, ‘I’m Jayme.’ And I said, ‘I know,'” Nutter recalled to host Gayle King.
Nutter said Jayme named her kidnapper, whom police identified as Jake Thomas Patterson, right away and pointed to where his cabin was. Because Nutter’s own home backs up to Patterson’s property, she decided to take the girl to a neighbour’s house a little further away to call the police.
A former social worker, Nutter says her training kicked in and she tried to be as calm as possible to make Jayme feel safe.
“I was not calm inside, [but] I did not want her to know that,” Nutter said. “So, I just practiced all my skills: Talk softly, don’t ask her any questions. There are only a couple of questions I asked her. First of all, ‘Where did you come from?’ And she told me. I said, ‘Is he home?’ And she said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Is he in a car?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘What colour is it?’ Because if we ran into the car I wanted to have some other plan in my head.”
She added: “I didn’t want her to know I thought my place wasn’t safe, because I wanted her to be calm. I just [thought] safety, safety, safety. That’s what we’re trained [for] in social work. Kids need to be safe. Get them safe first, ask questions later.”
Jayme’s family has been very grateful to Nutter for helping bring the teen to safety last week. On Sunday, Nutter met Jayme’s aunt Lynn for the first time.
“Oh my God, I just wanted to meet you so bad,” Lynn told Nutter, according to video CBS shot of them meeting. “It’s just amazing. I mean, you could have said or done anything, and you did everything so right.”
Nutter says it was “wonderful” to be able to help Closs.
“I feel privileged that I had this little piece of, you know, the puzzle of finding Jayme,” she said.
Closs’ suspected abductor is set to be arraigned in court Monday on two murder charges and a kidnapping charge.
- Read more about the Jayme Closs case:
- Everything we know about Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, who was found alive 3 months after her parents were brutally murdered
- The man suspected of kidnapping Jayme Closs killed her parents so he could get to her, investigators say
- A man was arrested after breaking into the home of missing teen Jayme Closs and stealing her clothing, police say
- The man suspected of kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering her parents is a 21-year-old who grew up an hour from the teen’s family
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