Kidnapping suspect targeted U.S. girl Jayme Closs after seeing her get on bus

A Wisconsin man is accused of abducting the 13-year-old girl and holding her captive for 3 months

  • Jan. 14, 2019 7:00 p.m.

A Wisconsin man accused of abducting 13-year-old Jayme Closs and holding her captive for three months made up his mind to take her when he spotted the teenager getting on a school bus near her home, authorities said Monday.

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, told detectives that “he knew that was the girl he was going to take,” and he made two aborted trips to her family’s home before finally carrying out an attack in which he fatally shot Jayme’s mother in front of her, according to a criminal complaint filed hours before Patterson’s first court appearance.

READ MORE: Suspect in Wisconsin killings, kidnapping due in court

Prosecutors charged him with kidnapping Jayme and killing her parents Oct. 15 near Barron, about 90 miles northeast of Minneapolis. He was also charged with armed robbery.

Investigators believe Patterson hid Jayme in a remote cabin before she escaped on Thursday. Police have said the two did not know each other.

Patterson sat expressionless during the court appearance, which he made via video feed from the county jail. He spoke only to acknowledge that his name and address were correct on paperwork and that he agreed to waive a speedy preliminary hearing. The judge set bail at $5 million.

Patterson went to the home twice intending to kidnap Jayme, but broke off one attempt because too many cars were in the driveway and called off another because the house was too active, the complaint said.

On the night she was abducted, Jayme told police, she was asleep in her room when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents as a car came up the driveway.

She and her mother, Denise, hid in the bathroom, clutching one another in the bathtub with the shower curtain pulled shut. Her father, James, went to the front door. They heard a gunshot, and Jayme knew that James had just been killed, according to the complaint.

Denise Closs started to call 911. Patterson broke down the bathroom door. Jayme said he was dressed in black, wearing a face mask and gloves and carrying a shotgun, the complaint said.

Patterson told her mother to hang up and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth shut. He told detectives that Denise Closs struggled with the tape so he wrapped the tape himself around Jayme’s mouth and head. He then taped her hands behind her back and taped her ankles together before pulling her out of the bathtub and shooting her mother in the head.

He dragged Jayme outside, nearly slipping in blood pooled on the floor. He threw her in the trunk and drove off, pausing to yield to three squad cars speeding toward the house with flashing lights, the complaint said.

Patterson took her to a cabin that he said was his, ordered her into a bedroom and told her to take off her clothes and get dressed in his sister’s pyjamas. He then threw her clothes into a fireplace in the cabin’s basement, according to the complaint.

Whenever he had friends over, he made clear that no one could know she was there or “bad things could happen to her,” so she had to hide under the bed. He sealed her under the bed with tote boxes and weights so she could not crawl out, according to the complaint. She had to stay under the bed whenever he left the house, sometimes going for hours without food, water or bathroom breaks.

When his father visited, Patterson told investigators, he turned up the radio in the bedroom to cover any noise she might make.

He said he assumed he had gotten away with the slayings and kidnappings after two weeks went by. He told detectives that on the night of the kidnapping he put stolen license plates on his car and removed an anti-kidnapping release cord from his trunk. He also shaved his head so he would not leave any hair behind and chose his father’s Mossberg shotgun because he thought it was a common model that would be hard to trace.

Patterson, who has no criminal history in Wisconsin, was described by people who knew him as a quiet and good student who participated in quiz bowl in high school. He wrote in his high school yearbook of wanting to join the Marines. On Monday, a spokeswoman for the Marines said Patterson lasted just a little more than month in the corps before washing out in October 2015.

The Associated Press

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