Hormel Foods and Jennie-O Turkey announced Wednesday that they will donate the $25,000 reward they had offered for information about 13-year-old Jayme Closs to Jayme herself, after she escaped the man who had abducted her and killed her parents.
The young girl was kidnapped from her home in Barron, Wisconsin, after both her parents were killed on Oct. 15. She escaped nearly three months later, on Jan. 10 after her kidnapper left her alone and told her to stay under his bed, which he had weighed down with heavy objects, according to a criminal complaint.
Jayme was able to push the weights away from the bed, so she could crawl out. She told authorities that she put on her kidnapper's shoes and walked out of the house, where she met Jeanne Nutter, a former social worker, who was walking her dog. Nutter took Jayme to another neighbor’s house where they called 911.
The parents of Jayme, James and Denise Closs, both worked at Jennie-O, which is owned by Hormel Foods. After Jayme's abduction, the company matched the $25,000 reward the FBI had offered for information in her case.
"Here in Barron our Jennie-O family is dealing with a very tragic situation," Jim Snee, CEO at Hormel Foods, said in a statement Wednesday.
"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," he said. "The company has expressed its wishes to donate the $25,000 to Jayme."
He added that they hoped the money could be put into a trust fund for Jayme.
BuzzFeed News asked the FBI what would happen to the reward money that they offered, but the agency would not say "due to privacy."
"At the conclusion of investigations in which rewards are offered, the FBI evaluates the information provided along with the unique circumstances of the case and its resolution, and determines whether it is appropriate to award reward money based upon the established criteria for the reward," Leonard Peace, the public affairs officer for FBI Milwaukee, said in an email to BuzzFeed News. "Our general practice is to refrain from disclosing details on the final decisions in these matters due to privacy considerations."
Jayme's kidnapper, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, was arrested shortly after she escaped and has been charged with kidnapping and homicide.