Inside the Tense Moments After Jayme Closs' Escape From Kidnapping: 'Call 911 and Get a Weapon'

The dog-walker, who encountered Jayme Closs urgently enlisted a neighbor's help, feared Jayme's kidnapper might return

The frightened girl, hurriedly walking with no coat or gloves in the cold amid an enclave of scattered cabins in the Wisconsin woods, looked immediately familiar to Jeanne Nutter.

“Missing” fliers had made the face of 13-year-old Jayme Closs ubiquitous since the teen went missing Oct. 15, a presumed kidnap victim abducted in the moments after her parents’ shotgun murders in their home outside of Barron.

Now, nearly 70 miles away from Barron in Gordon, here Jayme was on Thursday, approaching Nutter as she walked her Golden Retriever, Henry, along a snowy road.


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“My brain was racing,” Nutter tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story recounting Jayme’s ordeal and miraculous escape after nearly three months held hostage.

Jeanne Nutter with her dog, Henry. Elaine Aradillas

As Jayme said her name and asked for help, Nutter sensed the girl’s fear after realizing how close they stood to the cabin Jayme had just fled. Nutter sought safety by knocking on the nearest door but there was no answer.

“I said, ‘Oh Jayme, we’ll find somebody. I know a teacher who lives down the road,'” she recalls. “I was talking calmly, but I was freaking out inside.”

Jayme Closs, center, with her cousin Lindsey Smith and Corey Sager. Courtesy of Lindsey Smith

At the teacher’s home, Kristin Kasinskas answered her door. “This is Jayme Closs!,” Nutter blurted out, according to Kasinskas and her husband, Peter.

Nutter followed up with an urgent command, reflecting her panic that the girl’s abductor might be close on her heels.

“Call 911,” Nutter said. “And get a weapon.”

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In the terrifying minutes that followed, Peter Kasinskas stood at the door with a gun while the others waited for police to arrive and whisk Jayme to safety.

On their way, officers passed the suspect, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, who they would later stop and arrest within the hour for the alleged kidnapping and the murders of Jayme’s parents.

Authorities said Patterson had left Jayme alone in his home, and was out looking for her after she’d crawled from beneath the bed where Patterson ordered her, using threats of abuse, to stay for up to 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks during her 88 days as a hostage.

Jake Thomas Patterson. Barron County Sheriff's Dept

Before police arrived to complete Jayme’s rescue, Nutter warmed the teen in a wrapped blanket, and the girl played with the Kasinskas’ dog.

With her ordeal over, and soon to be reunited with family and her small-town community that never quit believing she’d be found safe, Jayme “just wanted to be quiet,” Nutter says. “We just sat with her.”

Patterson currently is jailed on $5 million bail. He has not yet entered a plea to the allegations.

“This is a very tragic situation,” Patterson’s lawyers said in a joint statement, according to local media reports. “There is a substantial amount of information, interest, and emotion involved in this case. Mr. Patterson’s legal team will be relying on the integrity of our judicial system to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected and respected.”

PEOPLE has reached out to the two lawyers for additional comment.

Patterson was charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary.

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