Jayme flees kid­nap­per who killed her par­ents


A 21-year-old man killed a Wis­con­sin cou­ple in a baf­fling scheme to kid­nap their teenage daugh­ter then held the girl cap­tive for three months be­fore she man­aged to es­cape and reach safety as he drove around look­ing for her.

Jayme Closs, 13, was skinny, di­shev­elled and wear­ing shoes too big for her when she ap­proached a stranger and pleaded for help on Fri­day (SA time) near the small, iso­lated north woods town of Gor­don, where po­lice said she was be­ing held by Jake Thomas Pat­ter­son.

Within min­utes, Pat­ter­son was pulled over and jailed on kid­nap­ping and homi­cide charges for what au­thor­i­ties said was his metic­u­lously planned shot­gun at­tack at the girl’s home on Oc­to­ber 15.

The news that Jayme was safe set off joy and re­lief 96km away in her home town of Bar­ron, pop­u­la­tion 3300, end­ing an all-out search that gripped the state, with many peo­ple fear­ing the worst .

“My legs started to shake,” Bar­ron Coun- ty Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald said, de­scrib­ing the mo­ment he learned Jayme had been found. “It was awe­some. The stress, the re­lief – it was awe­some.”

Jayme told one of the neigh­bours in Gor­don who took her in that she had fled a cabin where she had been held cap­tive. “She said that this per­son’s name was Jake Pat­ter­son, ‘he killed my par­ents and took me’,” neigh­bour Kristin Kasinskas said. “She said she did not know him.”

The first per­son to spot Jayme, so­cial worker Jeanne Nut­ter, said she was walk­ing her dog along a ru­ral road when a girl called out, grabbed her and re­vealed her name. “She just yelled, ‘Please help me! I don’t know where I am! I’m lost’.”

Sher­iff Fitzger­ald said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were try­ing to fig­ure out what hap­pened to Jayme dur­ing her cap­tiv­ity and why she was seized, and gave no de­tails of her es­cape, ex­cept to say Pat­ter­son was not home. He said there was no ev­i­dence Pat­ter­son knew Jayme or her fam­ily or had been in con­tact with her on so­cial me­dia.

“I know all of you are search­ing for the an­swer why any of this hap­pened,” Fitzger­ald said. “Be­lieve me, so are we.” The sher­iff said he did not know if Jayme had been phys­i­cally abused but that she was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal overnight for ob­ser­va­tion and re­leased. In­ves­ti­ga­tors were still in­ter­view­ing her, and she was “do­ing as well as cir­cum­stances al­low”, he said.

Ms Kasinskas called 911 to re­port Jayme had been found after Ms Nut­ter brought her to their home. Pat­ter­son was ap­par­ently out look­ing for her when he was stopped by a sher­iff’s deputy based on her de­scrip­tion of his vehicle.

Jayme’s grand­fa­ther, Robert Naiberg, said he had been pray­ing for months for the call he re­ceived about his grand­daugh­ter. “I thought, ‘Good for her she es­caped’,” he said.

Jayme dis­ap­peared from her home near Bar­ron after some­one blasted his way in and shot her par­ents, James and Denise Closs.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Pat­ter­son killed them to abduct the girl. Pat­ter­son took such mea­sures as shav­ing his head be­fore­hand to avoid leav­ing ev­i­dence at the scene, the sher­iff said. A shot­gun sim­i­lar to the one used was re­cov­ered from the home where Jayme was be­lieved held. Pat­ter­son had no crim­i­nal record. He grad­u­ated in 2015 from North­wood High School, where he was on the quiz bowl team and was a good stu­dent with a “great group of friends”, Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Jean Serum said.

BRAVE ES­CAPE: Jayme Closs fled kid­nap­per Jake Pat­ter­son, top, after 87 days in cap­tiv­ity. She was found by Peter and Kristin Kasinkas and Jeanne Nut­ter, right.

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