Barron, Wis. — Healthcare leaders in Jayme Closs‘ hometown are ready to do whatever is necessary to help the teenager adjust to her new life. The 13-year-old is dealing with the trauma of her abduction and her parents’ murder.
We still don’t know exactly what horrors Closs may have endured while imprisoned in a dilapidated cabin for 88 days and witnessing her parents murdered in October. Now that she is safely back with her loved ones, the community is coming together to help her heal, reports CBS News correspondent DeMarco Morgan.
“I don’t think any of us who have never been through it can even try to put ourselves in those shoes,” said Stacey Frolik, the Barron County Health and Human Services director. She said Closs and her family will get whatever assistance they need from her agency.
“Therapy, access, referrals, resources. Potentially for some financial assistance if needed to the family,” Frolik said.
Trauma experts and survivors say what Closs needs most is time. She needs to go at her own pace, on her own terms. While she hasn’t returned to school yet, officials said they’ll be ready if or when she does.
Three of Closs’ relatives told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King they are not probing her with questions that might re-traumatize her or pushing her to tell her story before she’s ready. “We have a lot of steps ahead. You know, baby steps. A lot of different emotions are gonna come out. You know? And we’ll all stick together,” aunt Sue Allard told King.
“She’s shy. She always has been, but she’s gettin’ there,” cousin Lindsey Smith said.
The rare and unusual circumstances of Closs’ ordeal may complicate her recovery, according to Robert Lowery Jr. of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “Her life has been completely shattered by this individual who also held her in captivity and over the last three months did probably unspeakable things that involved this child,” Lowery said.
Frolik said counselors have also been sent to help Closs’ classmates since her return. “The children are responding in different ways: fear, joy, sadness. And so there are supports that are established and will continue until they’re no longer needed,” Frolik said.
She also said it may take time for Closs to return to a level of normalcy after her abduction. “It’ll be a new normal. But will she get there? I think she will get there,” Frolik said.
Frolik points out this is not just one person’s or one family’s struggle. People throughout this rural part of northern Wisconsin are in shock, upset and afraid. She encouraged anyone who needs mental health or emotional support to reach out to her department for help.