Fam­ily: Teen had no link to sus­pect

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - NATION&WORLD 2 -

MADI­SON, Wis. — 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.

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-yearold 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.

“[But] he knew what he was do­ing,” Naiberg said. “We don’t know if he was stalk­ing her or what. Did he see her some­where?”

At­tor­neys for Pat­ter­son called the af­fair “a very tragic sit­u­a­tion” and said they were re­ly­ing on the court sys­tem to treat him fairly. Pat­ter­son will ap­pear in court Mon­day.

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.

Jayme’s aunt, Jen­nifer Smith, posted on Face­book on 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!!”

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. Records show that the cabin be­longed to Pat­ter­son’s father.

“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.”

Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald gave no de­tails on how the girl es­caped ex­cept to say Pat­ter­son was not home at the time. The sher­iff said he didn’t know whether Jayme had been phys­i­cally abused.

Naiberg, Jayme’s grand­fa­ther, said he spent a few hours with her on Fri­day. No one pressed her to talk, he said, adding that FBI agents and doc­tors ad­vised them to let her speak when she’s ready. He said she was largely silent and did not talk about how Pat­ter­son had kept her con­fined.


Bar­ron County Sher­iff Chris Fitzger­ald spoke in Oc­to­ber af­ter 13-yearold Jayme Closs dis­ap­peared. She es­caped her cap­tor on Thurs­day.


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