ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says authorities continue to gather evidence from the Wisconsin home where they say Jayme Closs was held captive, trying to piece together why the suspect kidnapped the teen.
The 13-year-old girl's escape from a rural home where she was held captive for three months by a Wisconsin man charged with murdering her parents helped break the case and she should be treated as a hero, Fitzgerald said.
Jayme Closs is with her aunt after her rescue on Thursday and has been reunited with the rest of her family and her dog, Fitzgerald told reporters.
Thousands of volunteers and hundreds of law enforcement officers had searched the small town of Barron after Closs' parents were found shot dead in their home in October, their front door blown open with a shotgun, their daughter gone.
Closs was targeted by suspected kidnapper Jake Patterson, 21, who carefully planned her parents' murder, even shaving his head to avoid leaving forensic evidence at the crime scene, Fitzgerald told reporters.
"Jayme was the target," said Fitzgerald.
"The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her." Relying on what Fitzgerald called "the will of a kid to survive," a disheveled Closs escaped the house in the tiny town of Gordon where she had been held captive, about 60 miles (100 km) north of her home in Barron.
Her captor was not at home when she managed to flee, Fitzgerald said.
She was found by a woman walking her dog on Thursday afternoon.
"Jayme is the hero in this case.
She's the one who helped us break this case," Fitzgerald told reporters.
Closs spoke to investigators on Friday after spending a night in the hospital for evaluation.
Authorities did not offer any details about the conditions of her captivity or how she had managed to escape.