Katherine Pecora, Staff Writer
On Jan. 10, Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl, escaped her abductor Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, on the 88th day of her captivity. Patterson is accused of killing Closs’ parents in order to kidnap her. Patterson allegedly stated that he knew he would kidnap Closs after seeing her board her school bus months before. On Oct. 15, 2018, a frantic 911 call came in around 1 a.m. The dispatcher stated that they heard “a lot of yelling” before officers were sent to the house, only to find Closs’ parents shot. Denise, 46, and James, 56, were found dead and Jayme was missing. The police determined that Jayme was not a suspect. Authorities issued an AMBER Alert to aid in finding Jayme, who they believed to be missing and endangered.
Before Closs’ life changed forever, she experienced a quiet and mostly normal upbringing. She and her mom were described as “two peas in a pod.” Her family was described as quiet, kind, and religious.
Nearly three months went by as the police in Closs’ small town kept up hope that she would be found alive. Social media outlets circulated information and positive wishes for her. On the 88th day of her captivity, Closs was left alone in a remote cabin outside of Gordon, Wisc. She crawled out from under the bed where she had been ordered to hide, threw on the suspect’s shoes, and ventured out into the cold Wisconsin winter. Jeanne Nutter is a resident of the area with a seasonal cabin nearby. Nutter told CBS News: “When she got near me and I could see who she was, she told me, ‘I’m Jayme.’” The teen told her: “I’m lost, and I don’t know where I am, and I need help.” Nutter observed that the girl “wasn’t dressed for the weather,” and added, “When she told me who she was, I figured she must have left in a hurry.” Nutter consoled the young girl; “We’re going to find somebody who’s home, we’re going to call the police. You’re going to be okay, you’re going to be safe, you’re going to be fine.” Closs remained calm after she and Nutter found a nearby house and urged them to call 911, telling them that the young girl was Jayme Closs.
Word of Closs’ recovery spread, and many acknowledged the tenacity and toughness it must have taken for Closs to have saved herself from this monster. Within hours, the suspect was identified, and later charged. Patterson, who lived in the Gordon home where Closs had been held, was charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of armed burglary and two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. According to People: “A criminal complaint alleges he later admitted his guilt, and that Closs heard the gunshot that killed her father while she and her mother hid in the bathroom. Patterson then allegedly broke down the bathroom door, made Denise Closs put tape over her daughter’s mouth, then shot Denise in front of Jayme before abducting the girl, the complaint alleges.” Patterson had not been on the radar of the investigators, and had no criminal history in Wisconsin at the time of his arrest.