Teen re­united with fam­ily

Jayme Closs safe and well as al­leged ab­duc­tor faces kid­nap­ping and mur­der charges.

Sunday News - - WORLD - – Min­neapo­lis Star-Tri­bune

Kid­napped Wis­con­sin teenager Jayme Closs has been re­united with fam­ily mem­bers, and her al­leged ab­duc­tor is ex­pected to make his first court ap­pear­ance to­mor­row, where he will be for­mally charged with kid­nap­ping and mur­der.

Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald said yes­ter­day the 13-year-old was re­united with her aunt, and was ex­pected to join the rest of her fam­ily soon.

‘‘She is do­ing as well as the cir­cum­stances al­low,’’ he said.

‘‘Jayme is the hero in this case, there’s no ques­tion about it.’’

Jake T Pat­ter­son, 21, will ap­pear in Bar­ron County Cir­cuit Court, where he will be charged with kid­nap­ping and two counts of first-de­gree in­ten­tional homi­cide for al­legedly gun­ning down Jayme’s par­ents in the early hours of Oc­to­ber 15, then ab­duct­ing her.

Fitzger­ald said in­ves­ti­ga­tors found a shot­gun at the ru­ral Wis­con­sin home where Pat­ter­son was al­legedly keep­ing Jayme, and it was con­sis­tent with what was used the morn­ing her par­ents were killed. Other weapons were found in the home.

Fitzger­ald noted that Pat­ter­son ‘‘took great ef­forts to min­imise his foren­sic foot­print at the crime scene’’, in­clud­ing shav­ing his head so as not to leave hair be­hind.

He re­it­er­ated that Pat­ter­son had no re­la­tion­ship to the Closs fam­ily, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors did not know why he chose Jayme as his tar­get.

‘‘Noth­ing in this case shows the sus­pect knew any­one at the Closs home or at any time had any con­tact with any­one in the Closs fam­ily,’’ Fitzger­ald said.

‘‘The sus­pect had spe­cific in­ten­tions to kid­nap Jayme, and went to great lengths to pre­pare to take her.’’

Jayme ap­peared bedrag­gled and thin after es­cap­ing her cap­tor on Fri­day and seek­ing help from neigh­bours in a re­mote area sev­eral kilo­me­tres from Gor­don, Wis­con­sin. Fitzger­ald said po­lice be­lieved Pat­ter­son was look­ing for her when he was ar­rested.

Jayme was lo­cated sev­eral kilo­me­tres out­side Gor­don, about an hour’s drive north of her home. Pat­ter­son was pulled over in a car nearby and ar­rested with­out re­sis­tance, thanks to a ve­hi­cle de­scrip­tion the teen had pro­vided, Dou­glas County

Sher­iff Tom Dal­bec said.

At a news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, ev­ery­one from law en­force­ment and oth­ers who spoke praised Jayme for sur­viv­ing, es­cap­ing and pro­vid­ing the key piece of in­for­ma­tion that led to Pat­ter­son’s ar­rest.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to sur­vive and es­cape,’’ Fitzger­ald said.

Pat­ter­son was hired at the Jen­nie-O Tur­key Store in Bar­ron three years ago but quit the next day, ac­cord­ing to Jen­nie-O Tur­key Store pres­i­dent Steve Lykken. Jayme’s par­ents James and Denise Closs worked at the com­pany for 27 years.

Lykken said Pat­ter­son quit after be­ing hired, say­ing he was mov­ing away from the area.

Fitzger­ald said Jayme had been dis­charged from hos­pi­tal and was un­der­go­ing men­tal and phys­i­cal eval­u­a­tions, and ques­tion­ing by the FBI and de­tec­tives.

He said Pat­ter­son had no crim­i­nal his­tory in Wis­con­sin or the Gor­don area and ‘‘was not on our radar’’. He did have ties to Bar­ron, but Fitzger­ald did not say what those ties were.

Diane Trem­blay, the su­per­in­ten­dent of the school dis­trict where Jayme at­tended class, said: ‘‘There is so much love and hugs in our dis­trict to­day. It’s just in­sur­mount­able.

‘‘We want to thank Jayme for be­ing so coura­geous and find­ing the op­por­tu­nity to come back to us. What an ex­tra­or­di­nary young lady.’’

Peo­ple through­out the town of 3400 res­i­dents about 140km north­east of the Twin Cities, were up­beat, too.

‘‘It’s a mir­a­cle,’’ said res­i­dent Ron Wheeler as he ate break­fast at the counter of Sea­sons Cafe. ‘‘Ev­ery­body thought she would never come back.’’

Bar­ron Mayor Ron Fladten said ev­ery­body was ‘‘elated’’ after a dif­fi­cult three months that had wounded the com­mu­nity, which he called ‘‘solid Mid­west’’.

‘‘It’s like a dark cloud has been hang­ing over our head for about 88 days,’’ Fladten said.

AP

Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald holds the book­ing photo of Jake Thomas Pat­ter­son, who al­legedly kid­napped Jayme Closs after mur­der­ing her par­ents, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Bar­ron, Wis­con­sin. In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Pat­ter­son had no re­la­tion­ship to the Closs fam­ily, and do not know why he chose Jayme as his tar­get. Closs has been re­united with her aunt, Jen­nifer Smith, in­set.

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