After Jayme Closs Escaped, Suspect Was Likely Searching for Her When Police Stopped Him: Sheriff
"The suspect was not at home when Jayme escaped. We believe the suspect was out looking for her," said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald
At a Friday press conference, authorities provided new details on the abduction and escape of Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who was rescued Thursday night after being abducted in October.
Police have charged 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson of Gordon, Wisconsin with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one of kidnapping. Patterson is accused of killing Jayme’ parents — James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 — inside a home on the outskirts of Barron, Wisconsin, before abducting the teen, holding her captive for nearly three months before she managed to escape and find help Thursday.
Discussing Jayme’s escape, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said, “The suspect was not at home when Jayme escaped. We believe the suspect was out looking for her when law enforcement made contact with him. He was in his vehicle driving around.
“[Jayme] was on foot and was not very far” from the home, where there was running water and electricity, Fitzgerald added.
Officials explained in Friday morning’s briefing that Patterson was not on the radar of investigators and had no criminal history in Wisconsin. He is currently in the Barron County Jail and police are not looking for additional suspects.
Investigators believe Jayme likely witnessed the killings before being abducted.
The suspect allegedly planned the crime in advance and took “great efforts to minimize forensic evidence,” according to Fitzgerald, who said Patterson allegedly changed his appearance by “shaving his head.”
Fitzgerald added, “Jayme is the hero in this case, there’s no question about it. She’s the one who helped us break the case.”
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The woman, Jeanne Nutter, recalled being approached by a young girl who told her, “I’m lost, and I don’t know where I am, and I need help,” according to CNN.
Nutter recalled how Jayme “wasn’t dressed for the weather,” and was without a coat or gloves. “When she told me who she was, I figured she must have left in a hurry,” said the Eau Claire native, who has a cabin in the same area where Jayme was allegedly held captive by Patterson.
After finding the teen, Nutter brought Jayme to the nearby front door of Kristin and Peter Kasinskas, who opened their front door around 4 p.m. to the sound of frantic knocking from a female neighbor. “This is Jayme Closs!” the woman said, the pair recalled to the Star Tribune. “Call 911!”
Patterson is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to enter a plea. It was unclear if he had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.