A year after Jayme Closs was abducted as a 13-year-old and held for months by a man who murdered her parents, the teenager says she feels "stronger every day."
Interested in Jayme Closs?
Add Jayme Closs as an interest to keep abreast of the latest news, videos and analysis from ABC News's Jayme Closs.
"I really want to thank everyone for all the kindness and concern people have shown me across the country," Closs said in an exclusive statement to ABC News. "I am very happy to be at home and return to the activities I enjoy, I like to hang out with all my friends and I feel stronger every day!"
Earlier this year, Jake Patterson pleaded guilty to killing Closs's parents on October 1
Closs was captured at the age of 21. Old Patterson lived in her house for 88 days until she fled in January.
"Jayme continues to work very hard on her emotional wellbeing," said teenage aunt, Jen Smith, and her family lawyer, Chris Gramstrup, in a statement. "She moves forward and bravely challenges her life."
The 14-year-old has taken day trips on hiking trails with her friends and aunts and enjoyed celebrating weddings and birthdays with her family.
"She also spent a lot of time with her friends, just hanging around and being a typical teenager," said Smith and Gramstrup. "Jayme's unbelievable spirit and strength continue to inspire everyone around her."
At a press conference on Monday, Gramstrup said that "Father's father, James, was extremely strong. He was an athlete. He had great strength. Denise had a lot of love, care and kindness for everyone around her.
"Jayme has both qualities she got from her parents, she has the power and she has the heart," said Gramstrup. "It is their strength and their heart that has guided them through this phenomenon and will continue to do so."
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald added on Monday, "I would like to take this time to remember James and Denise Closs, who gave their lives to protect their daughter."
"I also want to tell Jayme that we're all with her, whatever she needs in the future," Fitzgerald said, adding that the teenager "taught us the true meaning of" courage, resilience, and hope. " ,
Fitzgerald thanked the law enforcement team on Monday for the massive search efforts to find the abducted teenager and also illuminated other missing children.
Robert Lowery, Vice President of the Missing Children Department at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said at the press conference, "It's success stories like Jayme Closs motivating us every day."
"Hope is what drives us," Lowery said. "Many missing children are coming home … even 10 years or older when hope subside … we should never stop looking for these children."
Lowery said, "Jayme was just one of dozens of children who were missing in Wisconsin and are still missing."
Lowery showed a poster with the faces of 40 missing children who "still need our help".
Barron County Public Prosecutor Brian Wright thanked the press conference for "those who prayed and held on to hope."
"The people of Barron County … were just amazing in the support they gave, from the food they served every day to hundreds of police officers to the search for Jayme here in Barron County."
Wright also thanked the sheriff, who said he had "taken the lead in maintaining this case in the media … constantly talking about the hope we had on Jayme's safe return."
"On the whole because of this work, he did so on January 10, 2019, when Jayme bravely got off the person she first saw recognized her immediately," Wright said.
Wright also thanked the "hundreds of law enforcement officials who came here to volunteer, many in their free time and without pay."
Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without parole in May.
Patterson confessed to the investigators that, following a lawsuit against Jayme Closs, he had seen them on a school bus.
After Patterson's escape with the girl to her home, he created a room for her under his bed. When he left the house, he put dumbbells and dumbbells around the bed so she could not escape, according to the complaint.
Jayme Closs said in May that she had fled because "I was smarter".
"I have watched his routine and taken back my freedom," Closs said in a statement read out in her name at the time of the conviction. "I will always have my freedom and he will not." Jake Patterson can never take my courage, he thought he could control me, but he could not. "