Elizabeth Smart Speaking In Barron About Jayme Closs Abduction

Smart's Presentation Will Discuss How Community Can Heal, Support Jayme Moving Forward

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Elizabeth Smart looks on during a news conference
Elizabeth Smart looks on during a news conference for Elizabeth Elena Laguna Salgado Friday, April 24, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. Rick Bowmer/AP Photo

Kidnapping victim and national child-victim advocate Elizabeth Smart will be in Barron on Friday for a town hall discussion about how the community can best support Jayme Closs as she recovers from her own kidnapping and the murder of her parents.

Smart was kidnapped at age 14 and held captive for nine months by a Utah street preacher and his wife. Smart suffered repeated sexual assault. She has since become a victim advocate traveling the nation to raise awareness about crimes against children.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Smart’s town hall in Barron is aimed at helping the community heal and move forward.

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“She’s going to be talking about the notoriety that she received and how she wished the community would have responded to her,” said Fitzgerald.

He said Smart will also be talking about the role of parents in supporting children that have become victims of assault.

“She has three kids of her own and she’s going to talk to her kids about her situation and she’s going to talk to her parents about how to tell your kids you love them unconditionally no matter what happens to them,” said Fitzgerald. “Because she went through some thoughts of, ‘Bad things happened to me. Will anyone love me again?’”

Fitzgerald said a TV crew from the cable network Lifetime will join Smart in Barron. Lifetime is working on a special that will include Jayme’s kidnapping case.

A publicist with Lifetime parent company A&E confirmed Smart’s town hall was organized by Lifetime as part of a yet-to-be-announced TV special. While local media are allowed to film the first five minutes of the presentation, the network isn’t allowing interviews with participants or anyone from the production crew, according to the email from Lifetime.

The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Barron High School gymnasium.

Jayme’s accused captor Jake Patterson is currently awaiting trial. He faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the killing of Jayme’s parents, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary.

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