Jayme Closs, who was kidnapped after her parents were killed in October, will be the recipient of a $25,000 reward from Hormel Foods and its subsidiary Jennie-O Turkey Store, which employed both of her parents.
Jayme, was able to escape captivity after being missing for 88 days about 70 miles away from her home in Barron, Wisconsin. The suspect in the case allegedly fatally shot her parents, longtime Jennie-O Turkey Store employees Jim and Denise Closs at their home and kidnapped their daughter.
Now that Jayme is safe and accounted for, Hormel and Jennie-O, which had committed to contribute $25,000 toward the reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the person responsible for the crimes, now wishes to give that money directly to Jayme.
During a company event on January 23, Hormel Foods announced that it is working with law enforcement officials to make sure that Jayme gets that money.
"On behalf of the entire Jennie-O and Hormel Foods family, we are overjoyed at the news of Jayme's safe return," said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods. "Her bravery and strength have truly inspired our team members around the world. Barron is an incredibly strong community and one that never lost hope. We celebrated with the community, and the world, that Jayme is home."
"First and foremost, Jennie-O Turkey Store is a family," said Steve Lykken, Jennie-O Turkey Store president. "Here in Barron our Jennie-O family is dealing with a very tragic situation. 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. The company has expressed its wishes to donate the $25,000 to Jayme. Our hope is that a trust fund can be used for Jayme's needs today and in the future."
The company was an active supporter in the community throughout the search for Jayme, including supporting the family and law enforcement officials and organizing a Tree of Hope lighting ceremony as well. That event, which was held just weeks before her escape, was intended as a forum for employees and community members to send a unified message that no one would give up hope until Jayme was safely back home.
"On behalf of the Barron County Sheriff's Department and all the law enforcement agencies that assisted in this case, we would like to thank Jennie-O for their support and assistance during this case," said Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County Sheriff. "We also agree that Jayme is the hero in this case and happy they have chosen her to receive the company's reward contribution. The partnerships created during this case will not only help Jayme and her family in the future but will continue to make us all stronger, led by the idea that we will never give up hope!"