The kidnapping of Jayme Closs

Paige Schneider, Staff Reporter

On October 15th, 2018 Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call from an unknown person. They sent law enforcement to the Closs’s Wisconsin household. Inside they found 56-year-old James and his wife, 46-year-old Denise Closs murdered. James was found by the front door and Denise was found in the bathtub, both killed by gunshot wounds, and it appeared as if someone had broken in through the front door. There were multiple used 12-gauge shotgun shells littered around the crime scene, although there was no weapon to be found. But the weapon of the crime wasn’t the only thing missing – so was 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

The town was immediately sent into a panic as most children who go missing don’t ever come back if they aren’t found in the first 24 hours of the kidnapping. More than 200 tips poured in in the next two days after Closs had gone missing, and on the night of October 15th, a girl matching Closs’s description had been seen at a gas station. She was accompanied with two well-dressed, bearded men driving a black Ford Explorer complete with a Wisconson license plate. Sadly, this lead had a dead end. Authorities are now aware that they had seen the car that took Jayme away that night. They hadn’t pulled over the vehicle because they hadn’t been made aware of the kidnapping yet, and the Maroon colored Ford Taurus escaped without any obstacles.

There was a vigil held in the Barron Country village of Cameron for the Closs family on the night of October 16th. Two days later more than 100 volunteers spread out to look for the missing girl, and at that point in time, Jayme Closs topped the FBI’s missing person list. Eventually, there ended up being more than 2000 people searching for Closs, as well as a 50 thousand dollar reward for anyone who could provide any information about the kidnapping.

In the end, it was Closs who set herself free. Jeanne Nutter, who had been out walking her dog in 20-degree weather, was approached by a malnourished Jayme Closs 88 days after she had gone missing. She took Closs to a nearby household where the police were called. Closs has since been reunited with her aunt, Jennifer Smith, and is healing after the whole ordeal.

The kidnapper turned out to be 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, who is now facing charges of intentional homicide, kidnapping, and armed burglary. He has confessed to both shooting the Closs parents and kidnapping Jayme. He currently has a cash-only bail of 5 million dollars. Patterson said he first decided he was going to kidnap Jayme at a bus stop. He waited outside her home until he knew her families schedule, and planned everything out before he went through with his plans on the night of October 15th. When the deed was done, he took Closs 77 miles from her home where she would be held prisoner for the next 3 months. Patterson apparently didn’t know Jayme’s name until he had taken her, nor her parents before their names had been put on the news. Patterson’s parents don’t know what went wrong – They said that Jake was a quiet, reserved kid that favored video games over social interaction. He had even been voted the ‘most quiet boy’ of his 2015 graduating class. Patterson’s father, Patrick says, “All I care about is the family.” Jake Patterson still has to face a conviction, though if convicted for his current charges he will most likely face life in prison without parole.