A 21-year-old man burst into the home of a Wisconsin couple, killing them and kidnapping their 13-year-old daughter, holding the young girl captive for nearly three months until she managed to escape and alert authorities, police said Friday. Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was charged with the killings and kidnapping of .
Jayme managed to escape Patterson’s home and come across a woman who was outside walking her dog, police said. She gave police a description of Patterson’s vehicle which led to his arrest. He was taken into custody without incident.
“She saw this girl … screaming, ‘Help me, help me,'” Peter Kasinskas told CBS News about his neighbor’s encounter with Jayme. Kasinskas opened his front door to find his neighbor standing with a disheveled girl.
“‘This is Jayme Closs and call 911,'” Kasinskas said his neighbor told him. “It was literally like I was seeing a ghost because we’ve seen the billboards and the commercials and all that stuff, and there she is in my kitchen.”
Kasinskas said Jayme appeared thin and ragged, wearing what looked like leggings, a sweatshirt and oversized men’s tennis shoes. He said she was quiet while they waited for police to arrive, roughly 15 minutes later.
“She looked just the same as in all the photos, a little thinner,” Kasinskas said. “Her hair was still the same color and length. She just looked a little unkempt like she hadn’t been able to take care of herself for some time.”
Her parents James and Denise Closs were found shot to death in their Barron home on October 15. Police received a mostly inaudible 911 call from the mother’s cellphone just around 1 a.m. When authorities arrived four minutes later, the front door was shot open, the parents were dead, and Jayme was gone.
Police recovered a shotgun they believe was used in the fatal shooting. Police said the weapon was used to shoot down the door of the family’s home. Patterson didn’t have a criminal history locally and he was not currently employed, he added.
Patterson had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a news conference Friday evening. Investigators do not believe Patterson and the girl knew each other.
“At this time nothing in this case shows the suspect knew anyone at the Closs home or at any time had contact with anyone in the Closs family,” Fitzgerald said.
Patterson worked for one day at Jennie-O Turkey Store nearly three years ago, the company’s president, Steve Lykken, said in a statement Friday. Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs, also worked for Jennie-O. Patterson did not appear to have any contact with her parents.
“In cases like this, we often need a big break, and it was Jayme herself who gave us that break,” FBI Special Agent Justin Tolomeo said. Gordon is about 65 miles north of Jayme’s home in Barron, where she was last seen.
Jayme was examined at a hospital and held overnight, Dalbec said. Fitzgerald said she was in good condition, would undergo a mental health evaluation. She will also be reunited with her family Friday evening, he said.
“I mean Jayme is the hero in this case. There’s no question about it and she’s the one that helped us break the case,” Fitzgerald said Friday evening.
Ariana Diaz contributed to this report.
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