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Complaint reveals chilling details of Jayme Closs' abduction, captivity

Suspect in Jayme Closs case faces judge
Jayme Closs kidnapping suspect Jake Patterson faces judge 03:44

Barron County, Wis. — A criminal complaint said a Wisconsin man accused of kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs spotted her getting on a school bus one day and made up his mind to take her. 

Prosecutors filed the criminal complaint Monday laying out the allegations against Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, who faces charges of two counts of intentional homicide, kidnapping and burglary. The complaint says Patterson admitted he broke into the Closs home near Barron, Wisconsin, in October 2018, killed Jayme's parents and kidnapped her.

The criminal complaint said Patterson told investigators he was driving to his job at a cheese factory one day near Almena, Wisconsin, when he stopped behind a school bus and watched Jayme get on. 

The complaint quotes Patterson as saying when he saw Jayme, "He knew that was the girl he was going to take."

Patterson appeared in court via a video feed wearing an orange prison jumpsuit Monday afternoon as a judge read the charges against him. Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said Patterson, of the northern Wisconsin town of Gordon, had no ties to Barron County, other than working at a local cheese factory for two days. He said the only reason Patterson came to the area was to abduct Jayme.

Wright asked for cash bail of $5 million, calling Patterson a flight risk and a danger to the public. A judge agreed to the bail amount. 

The judge ordered a DNA sample collected from Patterson. When the judge asked if he had received a copy of the complaint, Patterson replied, "Yes, sir." He showed no emotion.

Patterson told investigators he went to the Closs home twice with the intent of taking Jayme but was unable to do so because too many people were around before he was able to kidnap her, the complaint states.

On the night of Oct. 15, investigators believe Patterson blasted through the door of the Closs home with a shotgun. Jayme told police she tried to hide from Patterson, but he eventually dragged her out of her home and threw her in the trunk of his vehicle. 

The complaint states Jayme and her mother hid in the bathroom as Patterson came to the front door. They heard a gunshot and knew Patterson had killed her father. 

Patterson allegedly admitted killing James Closs near the front door, and then said he scanned the house to see if anyone else was there before breaking down the bathroom door. Jayme said he was dressed in black, wearing a face mask and gloves and carrying a shotgun. The girl said her mother had called 911 from a cellphone, and Patterson told her to get off the phone. Patterson allegedly said he gave the woman duct tape and told her to tape Jayme's mouth, and when she struggled to do so he taped the girl himself, binding her mouth, wrists and ankles. 

Family describes the moment they learned Jayme Closs was free 08:15

He said he then aimed the shotgun at the woman's head and opened fire, killing her, and dragged Jayme to his car, according to the complaint. He threw her in the trunk and drove off, pausing to yield to three squad cars speeding toward the house with flashing lights. Police responding to the crime scene saw a red Ford Taurus driving in the opposite direction, according to the complaint, and the girl told investigators she heard police sirens when she was in the trunk.

Deputies found Jayme's father James Closs dead from a shotgun blast near the home's front door, and Jayme's mother Denise Closs also dead of a shotgun wound to the head in a bathtub.   

Patterson allegedly told investigators he carefully planned the abduction, at one point stealing a license plate to put on his Ford Taurus so he could avoid detection and removing lights and a trunk release lever from his trunk. He said he stole one of his father's 12-gauge shotguns prior to the attack, choosing the Mossberg brand weapon because he thought it was heavily manufactured and would be difficult to trace. He told investigators he brought 12-gauge shotgun shells because he felt they would "inflict the most damage."

Patterson also said he took a shower and shaved his face and head before the attack to avoid leaving DNA or hair at the scene. Wright said in court Patterson also admitted to later wiping down the shotgun so as not to leave behind DNA evidence.

Wright asked the judge to take into account the steps Patterson allegedly took to plan the attack and to conceal his identity in asking for the high bail. Wright said Patterson indicated to investigators that he would kill anyone in the home, including children, "because he could not leave behind any eyewitnesses." Patterson also said he would be willing the shoot at police if he were stopped by officers, according to Wright. 

Wright also said that Patterson remained in hiding after the abduction, concealing the girl for 88 days at his cabin in Gordon, about 70 miles north of her home.

According to the criminal complaint, Patterson took Jayme to the cabin, ordered her into a bedroom and told her to take off her clothes and get dressed in his sister's pajamas. He then threw her clothes into a fireplace in the cabin's basement.

The girl told investigators Patterson would force her to hide under a bed when he left the home, for as long as 12 hours with no food or bathroom breaks. She said he would pile totes and laundry bins against the bed, with weights stacked against them "so she could not move them without him being able to detect it if she did." Patterson would sometimes have friends and relatives over but would force the girl to hide under the bed, turning on music and telling her that "bad things would happen to her" if anyone found out she was there, according to the complaint.

Jayme said Patterson once got angry with her and hit her with a handle used to clean blinds. He said the punishment would be worse if she angered him again, according to the complaint. Patterson admitted threatening the girl and warning her not to leave the house. He said the girl had at least twice tried to get out from under the bed but that he struck a wall and screamed "to the point where he knew she was scared and she knew that she better never try that again."

How the search for Jayme Closs united family's friends, community 05:55

Patterson told investigators he thought he had gotten away with the crime after he wasn't apprehended within the first two weeks, the filing says. He allegedly said he had not had contact with Jayme through social media and only learned her name on the news after he abducted her.  According to the complaint, he told investigators he "never would have been caught if he had planned everything perfectly."

The girl was able to escape the home Thursday when Patterson had left for about five or six hours, the complaint says. She told investigators Patterson had again forced her to hide under the bed but she pushed one of the totes out of the way and left. She asked a woman walking her dog for help, saying she was Jayme Closs. The girl said "He killed my parents," "Please help — I want to go home" and "I don't know where I am," the filing says. She appeared disheveled and was wearing men's shoes, the woman said.

Shortly after her escape, Closs was able to identify Patterson and the color of his car to a 911 dispatcher, according to a family who lives nearby Patterson and came to the girl's aid. Patterson, apparently out looking for Jayme, was pulled over in the Taurus a short time later. The complaint says he told a Douglas County Sheriff's sergeant that he knew what it was about and "I did it."

Speaking to reporters after Monday's court hearing, Wright praised the girl's bravery for escaping.

"If you read the criminal complaint, you can see the amount of control that he was exerting over her," Wright sad. "And at some point, she found it within herself, at 13 years old, to say, 'I'm going to get myself out of this situation.' It's incredible."

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 before washing out in October 2015. 

His defense attorneys, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, said they believe Patterson can get a fair trial, but they are not sure where.

"It's been an emotional time for this community and a difficult time for this community. We don't take that lightly. But we have a job to do in protecting our client," Jones said. 

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was arrested in the kidnapping of Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs. Barron County Sheriff's Department

Speaking with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning," Closs' family said they are focusing on making Jayme feel safe and loved.

"I have to pinch myself," her aunt Sue Allard told King. "I woke up this morning and finally, I didn't have that pit in the bottom of my stomach any more."  

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