Authorities arrested 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson on Thursday and charged him in connection with the kidnapping of Wisconsin girl Jayme Closs and the deaths of her parents.
Here is what we know about the suspect so far.
Unemployed but worked with Jayme’s parents previously
According to Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, Patterson was unemployed at the time of his arrest. He worked at the Jennie-O turkey plant in Barron County a few years ago, but only for a few days. It’s the same place Jayme’s parents worked at, but there is no indication that Patterson knew them. No other records have been found to show that Patterson has worked anywhere else.
He shaved his head to conceal his identity and DNA
Patterson reportedly shaved his head to ensure he didn’t leave DNA behind when he abducted Jayme, and according to Barron, went to great lengths to “change his appearance.”
He grew up in Gordon
Patterson spent most of his life in the same home Jayme escaped from in Gordon. He attended Northwood High School and was on the the quiz bowl team. District Superintendent Jean Serum said he had a “great group of friends” and was a good student, according to the Pioneer Press.
Kristin Kasinskas, the teacher who called 911 when Jayme and the woman who found her, Jeanne Nutter, arrived to her doorstep, was Patterson’s teacher in middle school.
“He seemed like a quiet kid,” Kasinkas said. “I don’t recall anything that would have explained this, by any means.”
He kept Jayme inside the home he grew up in
Patterson’s home in Gordon sits in a heavily-rural area surrounded by large trees in a remote area. A little over 600 people in total live in Gordon, and it is often thought more of a vacation or hunting area. According to court records, the home Patterson lived in belonged to his father.
Patterson’s father transferred the title home to Superior Choice Credit Union on October 23, according to NBC’s KARE11.
Jayme was the only intended target
For reasons not yet known, Patterson solely targeted Jayme. According to Fitzgerald, his main intention was not to murder her parents, but instead to abduct Jayme. Patterson reportedly had no other intended victims.
Patterson kept Jayme hostage for 88 days before she found a way to escape and run for help, according to police
On Thursday at around 4:45 p.m., a woman was walking a dog in a housing development just outside of Gordon, when a girl with matted hair and oversized shoes approached her for help. The woman, Nutter, ran to a house in another neighborhood, hoping to get as far away from the home Jayme disappeared from before asking for help.
They arrived at the home of Kasinskas and her husband, Peter, who live off of S. Eau Claire Acres Circle with their children.
“I was terrified, but I didn’t want to show her that,” Nutter said, according to Macon Telegraph. “She just yelled please help me I don’t know where I am. I’m lost. My only thought was to get her to a safe place.”
The neighbor, frantic, explained that the girl was likely Jayme, a 13-year-old who vanished after her parents were shot to death inside their Barron home.
“This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” the neighbor declared.
Peter Kasinskas described Jayme’s demeanor as “flat,” according to the outlet, while the neighbor, who wanted to remain unnamed, explained Jayme walked up to her for assistance. While inside Kasinskas home, Jayme was offered food and drink but declined. The girl explained she had no idea where she was or anything about the area, but she thought she may have been there most the time she’s been missing.
“I honestly still think I’m dreaming right now. It was like I was seeing a ghost,” Peter Kasinskas told the outlet. “It was scary and awesome at the same time. My jaw just went to the floor.”
Neighbor next to Patterson never suspected a thing
Adam Wilson and his family spent weekends at the cabin next to Patterson’s. Wilson told Fox6 that he had no idea Jayme was in the home.
“Oh heck no. Not one bit. You know the house that supposedly she was at was very low key.”
Wilson said he had met the Patterson family in the past and they were “nice and generous,” offering tools or anything he needed.
He used a shotgun to kill James and Denise Closs
Patterson is accused of using a shotgun during the early morning hours of October 15 to shoot down the door of the family’s home in Barron, where he then shot James and Denise to death and abducted Jayme. The sheriff stated that authorities “recovered a gun consistent with what was used” at the Closs home. Other guns were reportedly found near the suspect’s home in Gordon.
He was registered to vote in Barron County
KARE11 reports that Patterson was registered to vote at his mother’s home in Haugen, which is located in Barron County, around 20 minutes by car from the Closs residence.
He had no prior criminal record and no known social media presence
Aside from a photo of Patterson on a family member’s now-deleted social media account, authorities have not yet found any social media footprints for the suspect. He also had no prior criminal record.
He may have been in foster care
Neighbor Patricia Osborne told the Star Tribune she remembered both the suspect and his brother, Erik Patterson. Osborne said that although she didn’t know a lot of details, she heard a few disturbing things that reportedly went on while the brothers grew up.
“They’ve stolen stuff before. They’ve been in foster care. And the dad I guess, I don’t know. I’ve met him and talked to him when I walked through the neighborhood, but that’s about all I know.”
Meanwhile, Jayme is back in Barron, reunited with her family. She’s living with her aunt.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Jayme Closs, Handout/Jake Patterson, Police Handout]