Teen re­united with aunt after es­cape

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Pam Louwagie, John Reinan and Paul Walsh

BAR­RON, Wis. — A 21-yearold man from ru­ral Wis­con­sin was iden­ti­fied Fri­day and jailed as the sus­pect who killed the par­ents of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and ab­ducted the girl from the fam­ily’s home nearly three months ago.

Jayme was re­united with an aunt, Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald said at a Fri­day af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence, and will meet up with the rest of her fam­ily later.

Jayme was lo­cated in Dou­glas County, Wis., about an hour’s drive north of her home, late Thurs­day af­ter­noon, and sus­pect Jake T. Pat­ter­son was quickly pulled over in a car nearby and ar­rested with­out re­sis­tance thanks to a vehicle de­scrip­tion the teen pro­vided, Dou­glas County Sher­iff Tom Dal­bec said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Bar­ron.

Jayme ap­peared bedrag­gled and thin Thurs­day af­ter­noon after es­cap­ing her cap­tor and seeking help from neigh­bors in a re­mote area sev­eral miles from Gor­don, Wis.

Fitzger­ald said Pat­ter­son was not at home when Jayme es­caped. He did not know how she es­caped.

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials and oth­ers who spoke dur­ing a news con­fer­ence late Fri­day morn­ing in Bar­ron praised the teen for sur­viv­ing, es­cap­ing and pro­vid­ing the key piece of in­for­ma­tion that led to the ar­rest of the man be­lieved re­spon­si­ble for fa­tally shoot­ing her par­ents and keep­ing her cap­tive and un­de­tected for weeks.

“We needed a break in this case,” said Justin Tolomeo, spe­cial agent in charge of the FBI’s Mil­wau­kee Divi­sion. “It was Jayme her­self who gave us that break.”

Fitzger­ald said Pat­ter­son acted alone, tar­geted Jayme specif­i­cally and was in his jail Fri­day. A crim­i­nal com­plaint charg­ing Pat­ter­son with two counts of homi­cide and one count of kid­nap­ping is ex­pected to be filed next week, the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice said at the Fri­day news brief­ing.

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

Dis­trict At­tor­ney Brian Wright said he does not be­lieve Pat­ter­son, said to be un­em­ployed, had any prior con­tact with the Closs fam­ily.

Pat­ter­son was hired at Jen­nie-O Tur­key Store in Bar­ron three years ago but quit the very next day, ac­cord­ing to Steve Lykken, Jen­nie-O Tur­key Store pres­i­dent. 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 from the area. “He has not been em­ployed with Jen­nieO since then,” Lykken said in the writ­ten state­ment.

Fitzger­ald said Fri­day af­ter­noon that Pat­ter­son is be­lieved to not to have known any­one at the Closs home.

“That is the key ques­tion: Why and how he was able to hide this over 88 days,” Fitzger­ald said.

Fri­day af­ter­noon, Fitzger­ald said that a gun was re­cov­ered as well as a shot­gun, which au­thor­i­ties be­lieved was used to en­ter the Closs home.

“I can tell you the sus­pect planned his ac­tions and took many proac­tive steps to hide his iden­tity from law en­force­ment and the gen­eral pub­lic,” Wright said.

Fitzger­ald said Pat­ter­son has no crim­i­nal his­tory in Wis­con­sin or the Gor­don area and “was not on our radar.” Pat­ter­son does have ties to Bar­ron, Fitzger­ald said, but did not say what those ties were.

Pat­ter­son is sched­uled to ap­pear in court on Mon­day. The sher­iff said of­fi­cials are not look­ing for any other sus­pects at the time.

Diane Trem­blay, the su­per­in­ten­dent of the school dis­trict where Jayme at­tended class, told the news gath­er­ing, “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.”

Jayme had not been seen or heard from since her dis­ap­pear­ance in the wee hours of Oct. 15. Sev­eral in­ten­sive searches took place in the area in the days that fol­lowed, but none yielded any valid clues, and for weeks Fitzger­ald kept say­ing au­thor­i­ties had no new leads.

Ac­cord­ing to the Dou­glas County sher­iff, Jayme was found east of Gor­don at 4:43 p.m. Thurs­day, and Pat­ter­son was ar­rested min­utes later. She was ex­am­ined at a hospi­tal late Thurs­day in the Du­luth-Su­pe­rior area.

Jeanne Nut­ter was walk­ing her golden re­triever, Henry, Thurs­day af­ter­noon when she saw a girl walk­ing to­ward her. As the girl got closer, Nut­ter knew al­most im­me­di­ately that she was Jayme by the photo that had been all over the news for months and plas­tered on posters in busi­nesses fronts.

The girl was wear­ing slacks and shoes that ob­vi­ously weren’t hers, a baggy coat or sweat­shirt.

“She was so calm, so I tried to keep my com­po­sure,” Nut­ter said Fri­day.

“The first thing she told me was, ‘I’m lost and I don’t know where I am and I need help.’”

She and the girl headed to a nearby house, where Kristin and Peter Kasinskas live. “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” Nut­ter told the cou­ple.

Jayme was quiet, her emo­tions “pretty flat,” Peter Kasinskas said.

Jayme didn’t know any­body had been look­ing for her and was sur­prised the cou­ple knew Pat­ter­son’s name. Jayme said she didn’t know him be­fore he ab­ducted her.


Lo­cal and national me­dia as well as com­mu­nity mem­bers wait for Fri­day morn­ing’s press con­fer­ence con­cern­ing the reap­pear­ance of 13-year old Jayme Closs and the ar­rest of 21-year old Jake Pat­ter­son in Bar­ron, Wis.

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