BARRON – Jayme Closs’ kidnapper targeted her after seeing her get on a school bus, then carefully planned her abduction and concealed her under his bed while his family and friends visited, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday against Jake Thomas Patterson.
Patterson, 21, had been driving to a job at the Saputo Cheese factory in Almena and was behind the school bus when it stopped to pick up Jayme one day last fall. He only worked that job for two days. Less than two weeks later, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15, he kidnapped Jayme.
“The defendant stated he had no idea who she was nor did he know who lived at the house or how many people lived at the house, the complaint says. “The defendant stated, when he saw (Jayme), he knew that was the girl he was going to take.”
Patterson decided ahead of time he would kill anyone else in the house so there would be no witnesses, and he followed through on that plan by fatally shooting Jayme’s parents with a 12-gauge shotgun.
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Less than a minute after leaving Jayme’s house, Patterson drove past several squad cars rushing there in response to a 911 call her mother made before she was shot. They did not pull him over.
Jayme spent much of the time during the 88 days of her captivity under a twin bed in Patterson’s childhood home in Gordon. She escaped Thursday afternoon.
Jayme gave police a description of Patterson’s car, which they quickly located and pulled over. When the officer asked Patterson if he knew the reason for the stop, he immediately said: “I did it.”
He is charged with kidnapping, armed burglary and two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for killing Jayme’s parents, James M. Closs, 56, and Denise J. Closs, 46. If convicted, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Patterson’s bail was set at $5 million during his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.
Patterson showed no emotion as he appeared in court via video, dressed entirely in orange. A judge also barred Patterson from possessing firearms and having any contact with Jayme and the neighbors who aided her escape.
No further charges are expected out of Barron County, according to District Attorney Brian Wright.
More charges could be filed out of Douglas County, where Jayme was found. If that is the case, they would be filed before Patterson’s next court appearance Feb. 6, according to Mark Fruehauf, the prosecutor in Douglas County.
No plea agreements have been publicly discussed.
Wright pledged to pursue justice for Jayme and her parents.
“At some point, she found it within herself at 13 years old to say, ‘I’m going to get myself out of this situation,’” Wright said. “It’s incredible.”
A planned abduction
The criminal complaint lays out Patterson’s calculated plan to abduct Jayme and keep her hidden, but sheds little light on what motivated him to commit the crimes.
According to the complaint:
In the early morning hours of Oct. 15, Patterson drove up to the Closs family’s Barron home in his sister’s maroon Ford Taurus. Jayme heard the family dog barking and saw a car coming up the driveway, so she woke her parents.
Her father went to the front door and saw Patterson standing there with a shotgun. Jayme and her mother barricaded themselves in the bathroom. Jayme’s mother held her as the two hid in the bathtub. Her father thought Patterson was a police officer and asked to see his badge. Patterson fired the shotgun through a rectangle of glass on the front door, fatally striking James Closs in the head.
Dressed in black with a black balaclava covering his face, Patterson tried to force open the door, finally shooting two rounds into the doorknob.
Jayme heard a gunshot and “knew her father had just been killed.”
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From the bathtub, Denise called 911 on her cellphone.
Patterson entered the house, stepping over James’ body as he did so. He broke down the bathroom door and ripped down the shower curtain to see Jayme and her mother hugging. He instructed Jayme’s mom to tape her daughter’s mouth shut. She struggled with the task, so he taped Jayme’s mouth himself. Then he taped Jayme’s wrists and ankles together. As Jayme stood beside him, Patterson shot her mother in the head.
Patterson dragged Jayme out the house, slipping on her father’s blood, then dragged her across the yard to his car. He put her into the trunk, where he had removed “what he described as a glow-in-the-dark kidnapping cord … so that no one could pull the trunk release once inside,” the complaint says.
About 20 seconds later, Jayme heard sirens as police sped toward her house. Patterson’s car was “the lone vehicle” traveling east on Highway 8 away from the Closs home as deputies headed toward it, according to one of those deputies. There was no front license plate, but there was a black bracket on the front bumper. The deputies did not pull over the vehicle, which moved aside to let police through.
If the police had stopped him, Patterson later told authorities, he likely would have shot at them.
The complaint also describes what Jayme went through after she was abducted:
Patterson drove about 70 miles to reach his home in Eau Claire Acres Circle, a forested neighborhood in the Town of Gordon.
When they arrived, he brought her inside and made her take off her clothes, which he put into a garbage bag. He later gave her a pair of his sister’s pajamas to wear.
Jayme was crying, Patterson told police, and he knew she was “extremely scared.”
When Patterson left the house or when people came over, he made Jayme hide under his twin bed, which had been pushed into a corner. He piled plastic totes and laundry bins around the two open sides, placing barbell weights on top of them to make them harder for her to move.
When his father visited on Saturdays, Patterson played loud music in the bedroom to mask any noises Jayme made.
Once he heard her making noise and told her if she did it again, “something bad would happen.” Another time he beat her with the handle of a tool used to clean blinds and told her if she made him mad again “the punishment would be worse.”
Patterson sometimes left Jayme under the bed for as long as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She stayed there when he went to Superior to visit one of his grandparents around Christmas.
“When he left the house, the defendant stated he would tell (Jayme) that she better not leave and told her bad things would happen if she tried,” the complaint says. “The defendant stated she knew she shouldn’t come out from under the bed when he was not there. The defendant stated that because of his anger outbursts (Jayme) complied and did as she was told.”
The criminal complaint did not indicate that Patterson sexually assaulted her.
Thought he had gotten away with it
After his arrest last week, Patterson gave police a detailed account of how he planned the kidnapping and the things he did to conceal his identity.
According to the complaint:
The same day he saw Jayme getting on the bus, Patterson went to Walmart and bought the balaclava that he later used to cover his face during the abduction.
He went to the Closs home twice before he kidnapped Jayme on Oct. 15, but didn’t attempt to take her on those days because several cars were parked outside and lights were on inside.
Before driving to Jayme’s house, Patterson removed the license plates from his car and replaced the back one with a stolen plate. He also disabled the dome light and removed the trunk light of his car.
He shaved his head and face and showered before going to the Closs’ house so as to avoid leaving DNA behind. He wiped down the shotgun and the shells and wore gloves while loading the weapon so as to avoid leaving fingerprints, and he wore two pair of gloves when he entered the house.
After Patterson got Jayme to his home in Gordon, he burned her clothing, the duct tape he’s used to bind her and his gloves in a wood-burning fireplace. He put the shotgun in the trunk of a broken down car in the yard put away the boots and clothing he wore during the kidnapping and murders.
“The defendant stated he was surprised that there wasn’t any blood spatter that came back on him, and so he wasn’t very worried about the clothing,” the complaint says.
Patterson said he didn’t know Jayme’s name or her parents’ names until he saw the reports of his crimes on the news.
“The defendant stated he basically assumed he had gotten away with killing James and Denise and kidnapping (Jayme) since he hadn’t been caught for the first two weeks,” the complaint says. “The defendant stated he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly.”
Patterson said he did not meet Jayme through a social media site. In fact he “only learned her name after the abduction and when he got back to his house,” the criminal complaint said. He also learned the names of James and Denise Closs from news and social media posts.
On Jan. 10, Patterson told Jayme he was going to be gone for five or six hours. He made her go under the bed.
After Patterson left, she pushed bins and weights away from around the bed and crawled out. She put on a pair of Patterson’s New Balance shoes and walked out of the house. She went toward a woman who she saw walking a dog, the complaint said.
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Looking thin and unkempt, Jayme stumbled upon Jeanne Nutter in Gordon and asked for help. Nutter and her neighbors contacted police, and officers arrested Patterson minutes later while he appeared to be driving around looking for the teenager.
Neighbors and former students have described Patterson, a graduate of the K-12 school at Northwood School District in Minong, as a quiet man who largely kept to the background. He wrote in his school’s yearbook that he planned to join the U.S. Marine Corps, but it’s unclear whether he ever followed through.
Patterson’s early discharge indicated “the character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards,” Marine spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock said in an email.
Three years ago, he was hired to work at Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron — where James and Denise were longtime employees — but quit after one day, the company said.
Jayme is staying with an aunt and spent the weekend reuniting with family.
READ THE COMPLAINT BELOW: Warning to readers: Contains graphic depictions of violence