Jan 11, 2019, 12:25 PM ET

21-year-old charged with kidnapping of missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs, murdering her parents

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A 21-year-old man has been charged with kidnapping Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old girl who had been missing for three months, and killing her parents after the teen managed to "survive and escape" his clutches, authorities said.

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Authorities identified the suspect Friday as Jake Thomas Patterson of Gordon, Wisconsin, the same town where Closs was found alive 88 days after she was abducted, authorities told reporters Friday morning.

PHOTO: Jake Thomas Patterson is pictured in a booking photo released by the Barron County Sheriffs office in Wisconsin.Barron County Sheriff
Jake Thomas Patterson is pictured in a booking photo released by the Barron County Sheriff's office in Wisconsin.

Patterson, who is currently not employed, had been concealing Closs from his friends and family, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.

"The subject planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public," Fitzgerald said.

In a news conference on Friday afternoon, he added that Patterson also shaved his head so he wouldn't leave hair behind and tried to conceal footprints.

PHOTO: Missing 13 Year Old Jayme Closs Found AliveABC News
Missing 13 Year Old Jayme Closs Found Alive

Closs escaped from Patterson's home, where she was being held against her will, Fitzgerald said, but the circumstances under which she did so were not released.

Douglas County emergency dispatchers received the 911 call around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec said.

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

Patterson once worked at Hormel Foods, the same company as Closs parents, but did not know them or make contact with them, Fitzgerald said on Friday afternoon.

He "was hired one day but quit the next," Steve Lykken, president of Jennie-O Turkey Store, a Hormel brand, wrote in a statement.

Patterson had specific intentions to kidnap Closs, but it's still unclear how he became aware of Closs, Fitzgerald said.

PHOTO: A thank you sign is displayed after Jayme Closs, a missing Wisconsin teenager was found alive more than three months after she disappeared, Jan. 11, 2019 in Barron, Wis.Jeff Baenen/AP
A thank you sign is displayed after Jayme Closs, a missing Wisconsin teenager was found alive more than three months after she disappeared, Jan. 11, 2019 in Barron, Wis.

A woman who was walking a dog found the teen and walked her to a nearby home, where the residents offered Closs food and water and called 911, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Both the woman who found Closs — who asked that her name not be used — and the residents of the nearby home recognized her from media reports, Fitzgerald said.

One of the residents, Peter Kasinskas, told ABC Saint Paul, Minnesota, station KSTP that when he opened his front door, he first noticed the woman's dog running into his kitchen before she stated, "This is Jayme Closs. Call 911."

PHOTO: Peter and Kristin Kasinkas speak to the press on Jan. 11, 2019 in Gordon, Wis., one day after missing teenager Jayme Closs escaped captivity.Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images
Peter and Kristin Kasinkas speak to the press on Jan. 11, 2019 in Gordon, Wis., one day after missing teenager Jayme Closs escaped captivity.

Kasinskas described Closs as "pretty quiet," but said the teen was able to give them the name and description of the man who kidnapped her.

Closs also told Kasinskas and his wife that she was being held in a house about a quarter mile away from their home. She managed to escape while Patterson wasn't home, Fitzgerald said.

Douglas County deputies later located a vehicle matching a description of the suspect's car provided by Closs, then pulled Patterson over and arrested him. They believe he was out looking for her. He was taken into custody in Douglas County and is currently being held at the Barron County jail on two charges of first-degree homicide and one charge of kidnapping.

PHOTO: Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald holds a booking photo of the suspect in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs, that he identified as Jake Thomas Patterson, during a press conference in Barron, Wis., Jan. 11, 2019.WISN
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald holds a booking photo of the suspect in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs, that he identified as Jake Thomas Patterson, during a press conference in Barron, Wis., Jan. 11, 2019.

Closs was reported missing on Oct. 15 after her parents, James and Denise Closs, aged 56 and 46, respectively, were found shot to death in their home in rural Barron, Wisconsin, about an hour's drive south from where she was located.

Authorities are still trying to find out what happened to Closs during the three months she was missing. Investigators received more than 3,500 tips during that time, Fitzgerald said.

Shortly before Closs was found, a fake alert in Walworth County had been released saying she had been located, Fitzgerald said.

PHOTO: An undated handout photo made available by the FBI shows 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was reported missing from Barron, Wis., since October 2018.FBI/EPA via Shutterstock
An undated handout photo made available by the FBI shows 13-year-old Jayme Closs, who was reported missing from Barron, Wis., since October 2018.

Her family "never gave up hope," Fitzgerald said.

"Jayme is safe, and the family is requesting that you please respect their privacy at this extremely emotional time," he said, adding that she has been medically cleared and is being interviewed by investigators.

“Jayme is the hero in this case. There is no question about it. She’s the one who helped us break the case,” Fitzgerald said on Friday afternoon.

PHOTO: Jayme Closs, 13, is pictured in a photo shared on social media after reuniting with her aunt and godmother, Jennifer Smith, Jan. 11, 2019.Jennifer Smith
Jayme Closs, 13, is pictured in a photo shared on social media after reuniting with her aunt and godmother, Jennifer Smith, Jan. 11, 2019.

Closs' aunt and godmother, Jennifer Smith, reunited with Closs at the hospital on Friday afternoon, Fitzgerald said. She would be reunited with the rest of the family Friday night.

"We are just happy everyone kept praying and didn't give up hope like we didn't," Smith told ABC News Thursday evening. "A lot of happy tears in this house tonight."

Patterson does not have a criminal history, and authorities are not searching for any additional suspects, Fitzgerald said.

On Friday afternoon, police served a search warrant at Patterson's house in Gordon. KTSP aired video Friday night of a search of a home in Gordon. Fitzgerald said they recovered several guns, including one that is consistent with what was used at the scene of the initial homicide. They are awaiting confirmation that it is the same weapon.

PHOTO: Jayme Closs in an undated photo provided by Barron County, Wis., Sheriffs Department.Barron County Sheriffs Department via AP
Jayme Closs in an undated photo provided by Barron County, Wis., Sheriff's Department.

The case has been turned over to the Barron County District Attorney's Office, Prosecutor Brian Wright told reporters. Wright plans to have a criminal complaint filed against Patterson by next week, he said.

Patterson will make his initial appearance in court on Monday at 3:30 p.m., where he will be formally charged.

News - 21-year-old charged with kidnapping of missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs, murdering her parents

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  • dan

    The death penalty is too easy for this guy. He needs to spend the rest of his life in a cell with the John Holmes of predators.

  • pbinCA

    What a fantastic turnaround. The evidence is overwhelming. Life in prison will give him time to dwell on his poor impulse control. I hope the inmates teach him how it feels to be constantly on the receiving end of dominance-submission, always in fear.

  • Bob Thor

    Surprisingly no one haven't blamed mental illness for the guy yet.

  • Joe V

    Perhaps he just saw her somewhere, maybe several times, and developed an infatuation towards her. Then he found out where she lived and went there to kidnap her. Because her parents were there he had to kill them. When someone develops an obsession like that there is no limit to what they might do to satisfy it. John Hinckley had an infatuation with Jody Foster so he shot Ronald Reagan didn't he?

  • Powderedtoastman

    Dogs are better than cats. Sorry. They just are.

    Dogs consider you part of the family. Cats consider you staff.

  • kittenpops

    Sweet brave little girl..I hope she gets all the help she will need, and has a happy life!

  • Michael Smulkowski

    “Patterson, who is currently not employed, had been concealing Closs from his friends and family, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.”

    Really!? A murder suspect is unemployed!? Thanks for the news flash.

  • Ashmedai

    I can't even begin to imagine the terror that girl felt. I am glad she had the courage to escape when she saw an opportunity.

  • SoCalSteve

    This is stuff of horror movies...

  • Jonas Blane ll

    Jayme Closs was kidnapped and her parents killed because of some sanctuary city harbored illegal alien............My mistake a born in Murica white man committed these heinous crimes.

  • HomerIsBlind

    Life without possibility of Parole or the dirt nap, preferably the latter.

  • RohnertPark1

    Out of tragedy came wonderful news about this young woman still being alive.

  • FreeYourMind

    That guy was CLEAN as a whistle. No criminal record at all.

    Just a Wayne LaPierre of the NRA "good guy with a gun".

    Until he wasn't.

  • PrettySmart1

    Nothing like a faithful pooch to make a kid feel better.

  • ShirleyEugest

    So glad she's safe now. There's the dog. Cute little thing. Watched its owners be murdered, though. I again urge you to adopt a guard dog, a German Shepherd or other fine watch dog instead of the useless little yappers like this one. There are so many quality guard dogs available for adoption, and they are just as loving pets as a multi-poo or whatever that dog in the pic is. The deep connection between a German Shepherd and its owner is legendary, ask anyone who has ever owned one. They will stop any fool from breaking into your house, hurting your family, or at the very least, give you time to call 911 and escape.

  • Justice4All2

    What a cutie. Looks like fetal alcohol syndrome or maybe a product of inbreeding. He'll make Bubba a fine bride.

  • Blabblablbab

    This is why we need to have athletic videos made by Tom Cruise shown at all public schools. Guy is like three feet tall and he can still out run a sports car. Child abduction would be much less frequent if kids could do 70mph flat out.

  • End of Life Ritual

    Why the fake alert?

  • Dicazi

    Many are on Facebook and aren't private. Instagram pics and video.
    Even Twitter supports video.
    Was the girl an athlete? A singer?

    There are many places he could have seen her pictures and not been in any contact with her.

  • Lacombe57 .

    Thank you Jeanne Nutter for simply being "...in the right place at the right time..".

  • 77Corvette

    We won't know anymore info until his arraignment Monday afternoon. Barron is near here.

  • Sophie Rose

    Some local media outlets have been saying this killer and his brother live alone at the house where she was held. That their parents had moved to another location and left their two adult sons there alone.

    During the news conference very little new information was given, it was almost like they were holding back to draw out anyone else involved (the brother??). Also apparently an alert on social media before she was found indicated she had been found in another county (placed by the killer) to throw off law enforcement??

  • Bob Marshall

    I wonder how she became targeted. It is wise for parents to talk with their children about social media and how it can be used by predators. She turned up on his radar somehow.