Teenager es­capes months of cap­tiv­ity

Miss­ing girl wan­ders into small town plead­ing for help

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

MINNEAPOLIS: MI A 13-yearold girl held cap­tive for three months by a 21-year-old man charged with mur­der­ing her par­ents should be treated as a hero, the lo­cal sher­iff says.

Teenager Jayme Closs es­caped from a ru­ral house in the mid­west­ern US state of Wis­con­sin and helped break the case, Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald said.

Jayme was skinny, di­shev­elled and wear­ing shoes too big for her when she ap­proached a stranger and pleaded for help on Thurs­day in the iso­lated for­est town of Gor­don, pop­u­la­tion 650, about 100km north of her home­town of Bar­ron.

“She just yelled, ‘Please help me! I don’t know where I am. I’m lost!’ ” said Jeanne Nut­ter, who had been walk­ing her dog. “I was ter­ri­fied, but I didn’t want to show her that.”

Ms Nut­ter took her to the nearby home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas.

Jayme told the cou­ple she had been held cap­tive in a cabin and didn’t know where she was. She said Jake Pat­ter­son had killed her par­ents and taken her, and she didn’t know him.

Thou­sands of vol­un­teers and hun­dreds of law en­force­ment of­fi­cers had been search­ing around the clock for Jayme after her par­ents were found shot dead in their home, the front door open and the girl gone.

Her res­cuers recog­nised the teenager im­me­di­ately due to the pub­lic­ity cam­paign.

Less than 15 min­utes later, Jake Pat­ter­son was in cus­tody after po­lice pulled over his vehicle based on his vic­tim’s de­scrip­tion.

“Jayme is the hero in this case. She’s the one who helped us break this case,” Sher­iff Fitzger­ald said. “The sus­pect was out look­ing for her when law en­force­ment made con­tact with him.”

Pat­ter­son, an un­em­ployed res­i­dent of Gor­don, was charged with kid­nap­ping and the mur­der of James and Denise Closs with a shot­gun. Their bod­ies were dis­cov­ered on Oc­to­ber 15.

“The sus­pect had spe­cific in­ten­tions to kid­nap Jayme and went to great lengths to pre­pare to take her,” Sher­iff Fitzger­ald said.

It’s not yet clear how she man­aged to es­cape.

News that Jayme was safe set off joy and re­lief in Bar­ron, pop­u­la­tion 3300, where many had feared the worst.

The sher­iff said in­ves­ti­ga­tors were try­ing to work out what had hap­pened to Jayme dur­ing her cap­tiv­ity and why she was seized.

They gave no de­tails on how she had es­caped ex­cept to say Pat­ter­son was not home at the time.

Sher­iff Fitzger­ald 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,” he said. “Be­lieve me, so are we.”

The sher­iff said he didn’t know if Jayme had been phys­i­cally abused but that she was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal overnight for ob­ser­va­tion and re­leased after an ex­am­i­na­tion.

Prop­erty records show the cabin be­longed to Pat­ter­son’s father at the time of Jayme’s dis­ap­pear­ance.

Pat­ter­son, who has no crim­i­nal record, is sched­uled to ap­pear in court to­mor­row.

SHE’S ALIVE: Jayme Closs with her aunt, Jen­nifer Smith; vol­un­teers join the ear­lier search (left); Jake Pat­ter­son (in­set).

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