- Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs was found safe on Thursday, three months after she reported missing.
- She was reported missing after her parents, Denise and James Closs, were found fatally shot in their Barron County, Wisconsin home on October 15.
- Police received thousands of tips but could not locate Jayme until she escaped a home in Gordon, Wisconsin, on Thursday.
- Police have named a 21-year-old man named Jake Thomas Patterson a suspect and are holding him on homicide and kidnapping charges.
- Investigators believe Jayme was the target of the October 15 incident, though it remains unclear why.
Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs was found alive on Thursday, three months after she was reported missing when her parents were found fatally shot in their Barron County home.
A 21-year-old man named Jake Thomas Patterson, from Gordon, Wisconsin, was taken into custody, minutes after Jayme escaped from a home and asked neighbours to call 911.
Patterson is being held on homicide charges related to the murder of Jayme’s parents, as well as kidnapping.
Here’s what we know about the case:
Jayme Closs went missing in the early morning of October 15
Before her disappearance, Jayme was last seen at a family party on October 14.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call from Jayme’s mother at 12:53 a.m. on October 15.
Neighbours said they heard gunshots coming from the home 20 minutes earlier, but did not call police.
Responding deputies found Jayme’s parents, Denise and James, found dead from gunshot wounds.
Early on in the case, police said the Closs’s front door had been kicked in on the night of the murders, but Barron County Sheriff Fitzgerald clarified at a press conference on Friday that it had been shot in with a shotgun.
Jayme, who police ruled out as a suspect in the killings, was missing from the home, and authorities believed she was in danger.
The teen’s parents’ deaths have been ruled a homicide.
Authorities received thousands of tips in the months Jayme was missing
When Jayme first went missing, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department described her as likely abducted, after her parents were found dead.
In late October, authorities called for 2,000 volunteers to help in a ground search for Jayme, following an initial ground search involving 100 people.
Authorities released vague descriptions of two vehicles of interest that might have been in the area of Jayme’s home the the night she disappeared, according to KSMP.
The cars were believed to be a red or orange Dodge Challenger and a black Ford Edge or Acura MDX.
But the vehicle descriptions and other leads didn’t lead investigators toward any clues as to where Jayme was.
Jayme’s aunts pleaded for information about the teen
Speaking at a press conference on in October, Jayme’s aunts spoke directly to the teen.
Jennifer Smith said she missed Jayme’s giggles, and held up the teen’s favourite iced coffee for the cameras.
“Jayme, not a moment goes by that we’re not thinking of you and praying for you,” Smith said. “We need you here to fill that hole in our hearts. We will never stop looking for you.”
Smith and another aunt brought Jayme’s pet dog to the news conference.
“Your dog, Molly, is waiting for you. She’s sleeping in one of your sweatshirts,” Smith said.
Jayme escaped from a cottage in Gordon, Wisconsin, on Thursday
Jayme had also reportedly banged on a neighbour’s door and said, “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!”
Resident Kristin Kasinskas brought Jayme into her home, where Jayme told her and her husband, Peter, she didn’t know where she was or anything about the town.
Kasinskas told the Associated Press on Friday that Jayme told her that she did not know why she was targeted, only that Patterson “killed my parents and took me.”
“She said to us that, ‘This person killed my parents and took me,'” Kasinskas later told CNN. “She said that this person usually hides her or hides her when others are near, or when he has to leave the household. She did not go into detail about how she got out of the house or anything like that.”
Kasinskas, a middle school science teacher, said she remembered Patterson being very quiet as a student, but didn’t know him very well as a neighbour.
She said she didn’t see Patterson in the three months that Jayme was missing.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Jayme was found at 4:43 p.m. on Thursday, and a suspect was taken into custody 11 minutes later, according to the Associated Press.
A 21-year-old from Gordon, Wisconsin, was taken into custody on Thursday
Police received thousands of tips in the months following Jayme’s disappearance, but it wasn’t until she escaped the home that a suspect was revealed, when Jayme described his vehicle to police, Fitzgerald said at a press conference on Friday.
Fitzgerald said police were quickly able to find the vehicle, and arrested Patterson, who is now being held in a Barron County jail on homicide and kidnapping charges.
Patterson was not home when Jayme escaped, and investigators believe he was out looking for her when police picked him up, Fitzgerald said.
Jayme appeared to be the only target in the kidnapping, and nothing shows that Patterson knew anyone at the Closs home or in the Closs family.
There is no sign that Patterson and Jayme had interaction on social media or elsewhere, Fitzgerald said.
Police say Patterson killed Jayme’s parents to get to her
Investigators believe Patterson killed Jayme’s parents because he wanted to abduct the teen, Fitzgerald said.
It remains unclear why Jayme was targeted, and police are now investigating how Patterson knew about Jayme.
Patterson had taken steps to hide his identity from the public as a search for Jayme carried on, Fitzgerald said, adding that he shaved his head so he wouldn’t leave DNA at a crime scene.
When Patterson was arrested, he was found hiding in the home he grew up in, at a residence down the street from where Jayme was found, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Patterson’s parents divorced in 2008, but the now-21-year-old and his brother, Erik Patterson, continued living in the Gordon home, according to the Associated Press. It’s unclear where Erik lives now.
Neighbour Daphne Running told AP she and her husband once caught the brothers siphoning gas. Another neighbour, Patricia Osborne, said the brothers spent time in foster care and often got into trouble.
Patterson graduated from Northwood High School in Minong, Wisconsin, in 2015.
Upon graduation, Patterson worked at the turkey farm where Jayme’s parents worked for two days during an unknown period, but it does not appear they interacted with him at the time, Fitzgerald said at a press conference.
During a search of the home that Jayme had escaped from, police recovered a shotgun that appeared to be consistent with what was used to kill Jayme’s parents in October, though the gun still has to go through crime lab testing, Fitzgerald said.
Investigators believe Patterson acted alone. Patterson has no criminal history in Wisconsin, though his brother, has had multiple run-ins with the law, with convictions for marijuana possession, bail jumping and sexual assault, according to online records seen by the AP.
Jayme’s family celebrated the news she had been found
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) January 12, 2019
Sue Allard, Jayme’s aunt, told the Star Tribune that she could barely express her joy after learning the news Thursday night.
“Praise the Lord,” Allard said between sobs. “It’s the news we’ve been waiting on for three months. I can’t wait to get my arms around her. I just can’t wait.”
Jayme was reunited with her aunt in the hospital on Thursday night and was reunited with the rest of her family on Friday and over the weekend.
Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, said on Sunday that Jayme is holding up following the ordeal.
“She’s doing exceptionally well for what she went through,”Naiberg told The Associated Press by phone. “She’s in exceptionally good spirits.”
Jayme has been staying with her aunt in Barron since leaving the hospital.
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