Jayme Closs' Mom Tried to Protect Her with 'Bear Hug' During Kidnapping and Murder

One of Denise Closs' final acts as a mother was to protect her daughter, Jayme, according to investigators

Those who knew Denise Closs said she and her 13-year-old daughter Jayme were inseparable. It was no different in the moments before Denise was fatally shot, allegedly by a man intent on kidnapping her only child.

According to the criminal complaint against Jake Thomas Patterson, on Oct. 15 of last year, the 21-year-old suspect in Jayme’s kidnapping and the killing of her parents allegedly went room to room in the family’s Barron home searching for Jayme after fatally shooting her father, 56-year-old James Closs.

Eventually, Patterson happened upon the only locked door in the house: the bathroom door. After forcing it open, investigators allege Patterson ripped back the shower curtain to reveal Denise, 46, and Jayme, seated in the tub.

RELATED: Missing 13-Year-Old and Her Slain Mom Were ‘Inseparable,’ Says Family Friend: ‘Two Peas in a Pod’

One of Denise’s last acts as a mother was to protect her daughter, the complaint states: It describes Denise as having “her arms wrapped around [Jayme] in a bear hug” the moment Patterson allegedly found them.

Moments later, after attempting to force Denise to bind her daughter’s mouth with duct tape and then removing the mom from the tub, Patterson fatally shot Denise, the complaint alleges.

“They were just two peas in a pod,” family friend Melissa Salmonson previously told PEOPLE, describing the pair as “almost inseparable” and saying Denise “was pretty quiet and shy like Jayme — they were similar.”

Suspect Allegedly Tried to Kidnap Jayme Twice Before

The criminal complaint against Patterson alleges he told detectives he “put quite a bit of thought into the details of how he was going to abduct” Jayme after first noticing her as she boarded a school bus one morning. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald alleged Jayme was Patterson’s “only target.”

On two occasions before the kidnapping and killings, Patterson allegedly drove to the Closs home, intent on carrying out his plan.

But Patterson postponed both attempts after deciding it was too risky.

Police allege that as he made his way to the Closs home on Oct. 15, he stopped along the side of the road to put stolen license plates on his vehicle. He also removed the dome light from his red Ford Taurus, so it would not illuminate when he entered or exited the vehicle. Police allege he also removed the glow-in-the-dark anti-kidnapping release cord, designed by car manufacturers to help potential abductees; when pulled, it disengages the trunk’s lock, allowing it to be opened from the inside.


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According to the complaint, Patterson allegedly told police he researched the gun he used in the killings, saying it was his father’s and, because the weapon was mass-produced, knew it would be harder to trace.

The complaint further alleges Patterson wore gloves to wipe down the shotgun and the shells he loaded into it, determined to leave no trace evidence. Patterson also allegedly admitted to shaving his face and head to reduce the chances he’d leave DNA evidence at the crime scene.

He also allegedly wore two pairs of gloves to the killings as well as a balaclava mask, a black shirt and blue jeans, the complaint states.

Before he allegedly fatally shot Denise, Patterson bound Jayme’s wrists and ankles with duct tape, the complaint states.

He then allegedly put Jayme in the trunk of his vehicle and drove off. In the distance, Jayme could hear sirens. Those sirens, it turned out, were police officers responding to a disturbing 911 call from the Closs home, made by Denise before she was shot.

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Jayme escaped Patterson’s remote cabin last week, finding a woman walking her dog, identifying herself, and pleading for assistance.

At his court arraignment on Monday, Patterson was not asked to enter a plea and his bail was set at $5 million.

“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 is being held in the Barron County Jail. He is charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary, according to the complaint.

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