Wis­con­sin man ar­rested in teen’s ab­duc­tion, 2 deaths

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Local - BY JEFF BAE­NEN AND GRETCHEN EH­LKE

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 in 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.

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.

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