MISS­ING GIRL’S DAR­ING ES­CAPE

Au­thor­i­ties say 13-year-old Jayme Closs flagged down a stranger, lead­ing to ar­rest of man charged with killing her par­ents and hold­ing her cap­tive for 3 months

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEFF BAENEN AND GRETCHEN EHLKE Jake Thomas Pat­ter­son

BAR­RON, Wis. — 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 nar­rowly man­aged to es­cape and reach safety as he drove around look­ing for her, au­thor­i­ties said.

Jayme Closs, 13, was skinny, di­sheveled and wear­ing shoes too big for her when she ap­proached a stranger and pleaded for help Thurs­day 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 in Oc­to­ber.

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

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

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.

“She said that this per­son’s name was Jake Pat­ter­son, ‘he killed my par­ents and took me,’ ” said an­other neigh­bor, Kristin Kasinskas. “She did not talk about why or how. She said she did not know him.”

The sher­iff said in­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to fig­ure out what hap­pened to Jayme dur­ing her cap­tiv­ity and why she was seized, and gave no de­tails on how she es­caped ex­cept to say Pat­ter­son was not home at the time. He said there is 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 that he did not know if Jayme had been phys­i­cally abused but that she was hos­pi­tal­ized overnight for ob­ser­va­tion and re­leased. In­ves­ti­ga­tors were still in­ter­view­ing her, and she was “do­ing as well as cir­cum­stances al­low,” he said.

Kasinskas called 911 to re­port the girl had been found after an­other neigh­bor out walk­ing her dog en­coun­tered Jayme and brought her to Kasinskas’ house. Pat­ter­son was ap­par­ently out look­ing for her when he was stopped by a sher­iff’s deputy based on a de­scrip­tion of his vehicle from Jayme, au­thor­i­ties said.

He was sched­uled for an ini­tial court ap­pear­ance Mon­day. It was not im­me­di­ately known whether the un­em­ployed Pat­ter­son had an at­tor­ney.

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, ac­cord­ing to Fitzger­ald.

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

KEREM YU­CEL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A po­lice car blocks the road Fri­day where teenager Jayme Closs was found in Gor­don, Wis­con­sin.

Jayme Closs

Jake ThomasPat­ter­son

JEN­NIFER SMITH VIA AP

Jayme Closs (right) and her aunt, Jen­nifer Smith, pose to­gether in this photo taken Fri­day in Bar­ron, Wis­con­sin.

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