Wis­con­sin girl’s or­deal ends, but mys­tery re­mains

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - News - BY TODD RICH­MOND

The grand­fa­ther of a north­west­ern Wis­con­sin girl who au­thor­i­ties say was ab­ducted dur­ing a home in­va­sion that left her par­ents dead said Satur­day that the fam­ily has no con­nec­tion to the sus­pect and doesn’t un­der­stand why he tar­geted her, deep­en­ing a mys­tery that has cap­ti­vated the state for months.

Some­one blasted open the door of James and Denise Closs’ home near Bar­ron with a shot­gun in Oc­to­ber, gunned the cou­ple down and made off with their 13-year-old daugh­ter, Jayme Closs.

Jayme had been miss­ing for nearly three months Thurs­day when she ap­proached a stranger near the small, iso­lated north woods town of Gor­don and pleaded for help. Of­fi­cers ar­rested 21-year-old Jake Thomas Pat­ter­son min­utes later based on Jayme’s de­scrip­tion of his ve­hi­cle. He was jailed on sus­pi­cion of kid­nap­ping and homi­cide.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have said Pat­ter­son’s goal was to kid­nap Jayme, but he ap­pears to have no con­nec­tion to the fam­ily. Jayme’s grand­fa­ther Robert Naiberg said in a tele­phone in­ter­view Satur­day that the only thing the fam­ily knows for sure is that no one knew Pat­ter­son. He said Jayme told FBI agents she didn’t know him at all.

“He didn’t know Jayme, he didn’t know Denise or Jim,” Naiberg said. “(Jayme) don’t know him from Adam. (But) he knew what he was do­ing. We don’t know if he was stalk­ing her or what. Did he see her some­where?”

Pat­ter­son at­tor­neys Charles Glynn and Richard Jones said in a state­ment they con­sider the sit­u­a­tion “very tragic” and that they are re­ly­ing on the court sys­tem to treat their client fairly. Charges are ex­pected against Pat­ter­son on Mon­day, when he is ex­pected to make his ini­tial ap­pear­ance in court.

The news that Jayme was safe set off joy and re­lief in her home­town of Bar­ron, pop­u­la­tion 3,300 and about 60 miles from where she was found. The dis­cov­ery ended an all-out search that gripped the state, with many peo­ple fear­ing the worst the longer she was miss­ing.

Jayme’s aunt, Jen­nifer Smith, posted on Face­book Satur­day that Jayme was do­ing well.

“Jayme had a pretty good night sleep it was great to know she was next to me all night what a great feel­ing to have her home. As a fam­ily we will get through all of the heal­ing process Jayme has. It will be a long road but we are fam­ily strong and we love this lit­tle girl so much!!”

An­other aunt, Sue Naiberg Al­lard, posted that Jayme got “the most awaited hug ever” when she re­turned home.

Jayme told one of the neigh­bors in Gor­don who took her in that she had walked away from a cabin where she had been held cap­tive.

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