Sheriff: Suspect used shotgun to kill Closs parents, kidnap Jayme
The suspect in the death of Jayme Closs' parents and the suspect in her kidnapping has been identified as Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, from Gordon, Wis. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Patterson had 'zero' criminal history, but said he had "specific intent" to kidnap Jayme Closs, during a 4 p.m. press conference Friday.
Fitzgerald said the suspect used a shotgun to shoot open the door to the Closs family home on Oct. 15 and then used the gun to kill James and Denise Closs before kidnapping Jayme. Fitzgerald said law enforcement recovered a gun that is consistent with the gun used at the crime scene. Investigators are waiting on forensics to prove that it is the same weapon.
Patterson planned his actions and took significant steps to hide his identity from law enforcement, according to Fitzgerald. Those steps included shaving his head so he would not leave trace evidence of his hair at the crime scene.
Jayme escaped from Patterson's home in Gordon, which is in Douglas County, Thursday afternoon when Patterson was not home, according to Fitzgerald.
"Jayme is the hero in this case, there is no question about it," Fitzgerald said.
She left the house on foot and was found around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, a short distance away from Patterson's home, after approaching a woman who was walking her dog. The woman took Jayme to a neighbor's home and the homeowner called 911.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbeck said his deputies responded and quickly identified Jayme. They soon located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect's vehicle given to them by Jayme. Police believe Patterson was out looking for Jayme when they made contact with him. Patterson was arrested 10 minutes after Jayme was found. Officers interviewed Patterson and then brought him to Barron County.
Jayme was treated at a Superior-area hospital and medically cleared. She is currently with family members.
The Associated Press reports Steve Lykken, president of the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron, issued a statement Friday saying 21-year-old Jake Patterson was hired one day but quit the next, explaining that he was moving away from the area.
An obituary for James and Denise Closs says they worked at the turkey processing plant for 27 years.
Sheriff Fitzgerald said there is no evidence that Patterson had any contact with James or Denise Closs during the short time he was employed at Jenni-O.
Patterson is facing charges of first degree intentional homicide for killing Jayme's parents. He also faces one count of kidnapping, for taking Jayme against her will.
The case has now been referred to the Barron County District Attorney's Office. District Attorney Brian Wright says he intends to file charges next week.
Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO spoke with Jayme's aunt hours after she was found.
"There was rumors earlier today, and I prayed and prayed and they come to not be true," said Jayme's aunt, Sue. "And I just shut myself totally down. I thought today was going to be the day, and then I find out two hours later that she's found and I just cannot believe this."
Around 4:30 p.m. Thursday reports surfaced that Jayme Closs was found in Walworth County. Sheriff Fitzgerald said while there was a large police presence in Walworth County that incident was unrelated.
Jeanne Nutter was walking her dog Thursday when she said Jayme approached her.
Nutter recalled the ordeal during an interview with WCCO.
"She just said I am lost and I don't know where I am and I need help. When she got near me and I could see who she was. She told me 'I'm Jayme'. She was scared, but then when I stayed calm, she stayed calm. I didn't grab her and run off in the woods, which would have been maybe an instinct, but no, I just held on to her and I said we are going to find somebody who is home and we are going to call the police and you are going to be OK and safe... everything is going to be fine. I just kept saying that. I hope she felt that from me and Peter and Kristin. They have a warm and comforting home. They have two kids and two dogs and we wrapped her in a blanket and the cops were great, law enforcement was amazing," Nutter said.
Jayme had been missing since Oct. 15, following the murder of her parents James and Denise Closs at their home in Barron.
The FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation are still investigating.
Patterson will have an initial appearance in Barron County court on Monday, Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. Patterson will be charged with two counts of first degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Notable events in the disappearance and discovery of Jayme Closs
Oct. 15, 2018 -- James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, are found shot to death in their home in Barron, a town in western Wisconsin. Authorities issue an Amber Alert for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, and the search for her begins.
Oct. 16, 2018 -- Investigators say they don't consider Jayme a suspect in her parents' deaths. Authorities also dismiss a tip placing Jayme's whereabouts in Miami as "not credible," and say they believe the girl is in danger.
Oct. 17, 2018 -- Authorities announce that investigators believe Jayme was in her family's home when he parents were fatally shot.
Oct. 18, 2018 -- About 100 people join a ground search for Jayme after Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald requests the help of volunteers. The search turns up nothing useful. The Wisconsin Department of Justice announces it is sending therapists, comfort dogs and school resource officers to help students at the school Jayme attended.
Oct. 23, 2018 -- About 2,000 volunteers from as far as Minneapolis help with another ground search . Several items are found and taken for assessment.
Oct. 24, 2018 -- The FBI offers a $25,000 reward for information leading to Jayme's location. The amount is later doubled to $50,000 by the Jennie-O Turkey Store, where James and Denise Closs worked.
Oct. 27, 2018 -- Funerals are held for James and Denise Closs in Cameron, a village next to Barron.
Oct. 29, 2018 -- Prosecutors announce they have charged a man with burglarizing the Closs home but say he's not a suspect in the case.
Dec. 12, 2018 -- Hundreds of people attend a "tree of hope" lighting ceremony in honor of Jayme in Barron.
Jan. 10, 2019 -- Jayme is found alive in the Town of Gordon, a rural community about an hour from her home. A suspect is taken into custody.