On October 15, Jayme Closs was kidnapped after the suspect shot and killed her parents Denise and James Closs. After nearly three months, Jayme was able to escape from her captor.
He’s since been identified as Jake Thomas Patterson. More information about the suspect has now been revealed.
Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was identified as Gordon, Wisconsin, resident. The town is about 70 miles north of Barron County where he killed Jayme Closs’ parents and kidnapped her.
According to Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, the suspect is being held on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. The teenager escaped from her abductor's wooden cabin where he had lived with his parents a brother and an alleged sister growing up.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec revealed that Jayme gave investigators a description of the suspect’s vehicle after she escaped. A short while later Patterson was taken into custody after a patrol officer saw a vehicle that matched that description and pulled it over.
Fitzgerald said the suspect had "planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public." Patterson shaved his head so he wouldn't leave hair behind at the scene of the crime.
The police haven’t given a motive for the murders of Denise, 46, and James Closs, 56, however, they believed Jayme was Patterson’s intended target that night. Authorities also discovered that the suspect had worked at the same Jennie-O Turkey Store facility in Barron that Jayme's parents were employed at.
However, the suspect only worked at the facility for one day in 2016 before quitting and saying he was moving away. Fitzgerald said Patterson never had any contact with the teenager’s parents and he’s currently unemployed.
A gun was recovered after the suspect was arrested. It was said to be "consistent with the gun used at the scene" of the Closs’ murders.
However, the police were waiting for confirmation from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. According to Fitzgerald, Patterson had "zero" criminal history in his hometown or in Wisconsin.
The suspect was described by former classmates as a “quiet student who lacked social skills.” Patterson's high school teachers could barely remember the young man who graduated only three years ago from Northwood High School in nearby Minong.
His classmates remembered him as being a quiet student who would sometimes sleep in class. A former student said, “He seemed like he was just one of those guys in school that wanted to fit in but couldn't because he lacked social skills… (He) never really made an impact in any way.”
At his school, he was a member of the quiz bowl team and he also wrestled in elementary school. His fellow classmates recalled that he didn’t go to prom or join them on their senior trip to Florida.
Patterson also refused to pose with his graduating class for a group picture. In 2008, the suspect’s parents divorced and their neighbor, Daphne Ronning, shared that they eventually moved away.
However, Jayme’s kidnapper stayed on in the cabin with his older brother, Erik. Both men were described as troublemakers who stayed in foster care.
On Monday, Patterson will make his first court appearance in Barron. He will be represented by state public defenders Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, with assistance the of the Public Defender's Office in Barron County.
When Jayme escaped from Patterson she was found along a wooded road on Thursday afternoon about an hour from her home. Her hair was matted and she was wearing shoes that didn’t fit well.
The teenager’s disappearance led to more than 2,100 tips that resulted in nothing. Officials even turned a courtroom in a municipal building on the outskirts of their town into a nerve center for the investigation.
The town banded together as thousands of people volunteered to search for the missing girl.
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