Jayme Closs and her family say they’re grateful for the tens of thousands of dollars in donations made from people around the world since the 13-year-old girl escaped from the man accused of kidnapping her and killing her parents.
The family is grateful for the support they’ve received since Jayme was returned to them, according to a statement released to WDIO-TV in Duluth on Wednesday by Jayme's court-appointed guardian, who asked not to be named.
"Jayme and her family wish to extend their deepest gratitude for the incredible gifts and generous donations that she has received from all over the country and around the world," said the statement. "Jayme greatly appreciates each and every gift, as well as the many cards and letters. The many kind words have been a source of great comfort to her."
A Facebook fundraiser raised $51,000 for Jayme within days of her January escape from the home in Gordon where her admitted captor, Jake Patterson, kept her for nearly three months. A separate GoFundMe fundraiser for Jayme and her family started by her cousin, Angela De Andriano, had raised and additional $50,922 from 996 people as of Wednesday afternoon.
In an interview with WPR, De Andriano said she’s increased the GoFundMe goals twice already at the request of donors.
"Each time I get close to a goal I have just like an overload of messages coming in, 'This isn’t going to close is it? We would like to help.'" said De Andriano. "And I’m like, 'OK, nope it doesn’t just close. You can go ahead and go on there and I’ll just keep adjusting it.'"
De Andriano said donations have been steady ever since news of Jayme’s escape broke, but there have been upticks whenever Jayme’s story gets renewed attention in social media or news reports.
"There’s a lot of people out there that want to help and that are really concerned and following along as these hearings begin, and I think that Jayme has a lot of support from all over the world," De Andriano said.
Another fundraiser established by the Closs family at Sterling Bank in Barron has been accepting donations in person and by mail since she was reported missing after her parents were found dead October 15. The bank’s branch manager declined to say how much money has been donated.
All three of the fundraisers have been confirmed as legitimate by members of Jayme's family. But on January 15 the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department issued a statement on Facebook that it had received complaints about GoFundMe pages being set up to benefit Jake Patterson. The department said those fundraisers were created using "fake or hacked" Facebook accounts, including that of a young girl in Gordon who received online threats as a result.