Jake Thomas Patterson allegedly told police "he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly," according to a criminal complaint
On two occasions before he allegedly kidnapped Jayme Closs and killed the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl’s parents, the suspect in the case allegedly drove to the family’s Barron home intent on kidnapping Jayme before deciding it was too risky.
The criminal complaint against Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, alleges he told police he first set out for the Closs home about two weeks before last Oct. 15, when authorities allege he fatally shot Jayme’s parents before bounding the teen with tape and dragging her into his trunk.
But on that initial occasion, Patterson said he was spooked after seeing a large number of vehicles in the family’s driveway.
Then, a few days after that first attempt, police allege Patterson returned, but again backed out when he “noticed the lights were on in the house and people were walking around in the house,” the complaint states.
The complaint states that Patterson allegedly 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 her school bus one morning.
“On one of the nights prior to his third trip to the Closs home on October 15th, the defendant stated he drove a few miles down the road on County Highway D near Sarona and stole the license plates off” a parked vehicle, the complaint reads. “The defendant states he stole the license plates because he did not want to get stopped or spotted with his own license plates on his car.”
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Police allege that as he made his way to the Closs home, he stopped along the side of the road to put the stolen 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.
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. As reported earlier, Patterson 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.
Investigators allege Patterson told them he switched the headlamps off and coasted towards the house, leaving his car at the end of their driveway. As he approached the home, police allege Patterson noticed Jayme’s father, 56-year-old James Closs, peering out a window with a flashlight. Patterson allegedly yelled to him to drop to the floor as he continued towards the front door.
Patterson allegedly said that after he was asked to produce a policeman’s badge, he allegedly fired once through the door, killing James, the complaint states. He forced his way in and stepped over James’ body, according to the complaint.
None of the lights were on in the home, Patterson allegedly said. Using a flashlight, he searched the home, seeing no sign of Jayme, who police have alleged was Patterson’s “target” and motive for the crime. He headed for the one closed door in the home, police allege, and found it was locked.
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“The defendant estimated that it took him anywhere from 10 to 15 hits with his shoulder before it burst open and he entered into the bathroom,” the charging documents allege. He pulled back the shower curtain, revealing “Denise [Closs] and [Jayme] were seated in the bathtub — Denise with her arms wrapped around [Jayme] in a bear hug.”
Patterson allegedly said he handed Denise duct tape and told her to place it over Jayme’s mouth, but decided to do it himself after Denise struggled. He then bound Jayme’s wrists and ankles before removing her from the tub and fatally shooting Denise.
Patterson allegedly put Jayme in his trunk 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.
Suspect Said He Wouldn’t Have Been Caught If He ‘Planned Everything Perfectly’
The complaint alleges Patterson told police he assumed he “had gotten away” with his crimes two weeks after the killings. He allegedly said he only learned Jayme’s name when he got her back to his home some 70 miles away in Gordon, and only learned the names of her parents from local news coverage of their murders.
“The defendant states he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly,” the complaint alleges.
“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.