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Patterson Decided To Take Jayme Closs After Seeing Her Get On School Bus, Complaint Says

Facebook/Jayme Closs
Missing for three months, Jayme Closs was found Thursday, Jan. 10.

Updated Jan. 14, 2019 at 4:18 p.m.

Jake Thomas Patterson targeted Jayme Closs after seeing her get on a school bus, according to a criminal complaint released on Monday.

The 21-year-old is facing two charges of first degree intentional homicide for the murder of Closs’s parents, one count of kidnapping and one count of burglary. His bail is set at $5 million.

According to the report, Closs escaped while Patterson was out last week.

When he left the house where he was holding her, Closs was made to stay under his bed. He would blockade the openings under the bed with boxes and weights so that he could see if she tried to get out.

On the day that Closs escaped, the criminal complaint says Patterson returned home to find that the girl was no longer under his bed. The report says he looked around the house before noticing her footprints outside. Patterson allegedly told police he drove around looking for her before being stopped by police on his way home.

Police say when he was stopped, Patterson admitted to kidnapping Closs and killing her parents.

Original Story Jan. 11, 2019

Authorities have jailed a 21-year-old man for charges related to the abduction of 13-year-old Jayme Closs, and the killing of her parents.

Jayme's parents' bodies were discovered inside their home on Oct. 15 in Barron, in northwestern Wisconsin. Jayme disappeared at the time but was found safe on Thursday near Gordon, which is about 60 miles north of Jayme's home. Gordon also is where the suspect, Jake Thomas Patterson, lives.

Authorities say the girl was found outdoors, after she had walked away from a cabin where she had been held. Jayme reportedly approached a woman who was walking a dog. The woman notified a neighbor who called 911. Jayme gave authorities a description of Patterson's vehicle. He was found and arrested shortly afterward.

At a news conference Friday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme is the "hero" of the story.

"It's amazing the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape. And that comes from the hope and the prayers in this community," Fitzgerald said.

Jayme's disappearance received national attention, including because she appeared to vanish without a trace. An AMBER Alert was issued, and search parties looked far and wide for the girl. Deer hunters were asked to keep an eye out for signs of her last fall.

Some people expected the worst, and were amazed that Jayme was found safe. Sheriff Fitzgerald says Jayme does not appear to have been hurt, and she has been medically cleared.

"Jayme was reunited with her aunt this afternoon at the hospital. She will also be reunited later this evening with the rest of her family. She is doing as well as circumstances allow. I have not personally seen or spoken with her yet, which I am anxious to do. Right now we are going to let her settle in and reconnect with her loved ones," Fitzgerald said.

Authorities are not revealing much at this point about the suspect. They say Patterson has no prior criminal record. They say his initial goal was to abduct Jayme — not to kill her parents. Sheriff Fitzgerald says Patterson is believed to have plotted out the crime, and took many steps to hide his identity.

"With regard to the suspect taking great efforts to minimize his forensic footprint at the crime scene, they include things like not leaving trace evidence by changing his physical appearance, like shaving his head to not leave hair behind. We again will not be making any more comments about this to protect the integrity of the case," Fitzgerald said.

He says authorities do not know yet why the suspect targeted Jayme. They say they haven't uncovered a connection between the two. For instance, it does not appear that they had met before, in person or on social media. The sheriff confirmed that Patterson worked very briefly — for less than two days — at the same turkey plant as Jayme's parents. But he says there's nothing to suggest that the suspect had come into contact with them.

The sheriff told reporters late Friday that he understands their frustration over how little information has been revealed at this time.

"I know all of you are searching for the answer why any of this happened. Believe me, so are we. Not knowing will plague us for some time. But again, our goal is to continue to do what is right for Jayme and to seek that justice is served," Fitzgerald said.

Patterson is scheduled to be formally charged at his initial court appearance in Barron County on Monday afternoon.

Ann-Elise Henzl became News Director in September 2017.
LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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