The man accused of kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs apparently had aspirations of becoming a Marine, but according to a high school classmate, he dropped during boot camp.
Daily Beast reports that Clinton Rolnik was a classmate of suspected killer and kidnapper, 21-year-old Jake Patterson, at Northwood High School in Minong, Wisconsin. According to Rolnik, his former high school friend was “good person” who mostly kept to himself.
“He was a good person but was always shy and never, and I mean never, had social media or ever tried to hang out with anyone. Always kept to himself.”
Rolnik said the few times he did hang out with Patterson, they rode dirt bikes, played video games or swam in a river.
“Nothing too crazy,” Rolnik added.
Rolnik also said Patterson had aspirations to join the military, and he did just that, but didn’t last long. Patterson reportedly made it as far as boot camp but for reasons unknown, either dropped out or got kicked out.
Getting our first look at some yearbook photos from suspect Jake Patterson’s senior year. In it, Jake said his post high school plans were to join the Marines. His quote: “Finally done with school.” #JaymeCloss pic.twitter.com/L0iXuWaWH5
— Alexandra Lehnert (@AlexLehnertFox9) January 12, 2019
Patterson, according to Rolnik, hardly ever left his home in Gordon, unless it was to ride the bus back and forth to school. The suspected killer allegedly never had a girlfriend in high school and was thought of as shy.
“He almost never left the house unless he was coming to school,” Rolnik said. “I rode the bus with him every day until I got a car.”
Another classmate remembered Patterson as a “wonderful person” who wouldn’t “hurt a fly.”
“Jake was an absolute wonderful person,” Elissa Lisenby, another Northwood High School classmate, told the Daily Beast. “He had a great sense of humor, always there when you needed a shoulder to lean on. None of this is anything like him. He would never hurt a fly….He’s got a heart of gold.”
Jake Patterson, 21, has been identified as the suspect in the abduction of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents, James and Denise, in Barron County, Wisconsin. Police say Jayme was Patterson's "target," but she did not know him: https://t.co/pxVs15OZ3Y #breaking pic.twitter.com/eNJDoSah71
— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) January 11, 2019
Neighbors of Patterson, however, remembered him as a kid who stole things and siphoned gas.
“We had some problems with them when they were teenagers—we caught them siphoning gas,” neighbor Daphne Ronning told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My husband talked with them and there was never anything else.”
Another 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.”
Jayme is Discovered
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 approached her for help. The woman, former social services worker, Jeanne Nutter, ran to a house further down, hoping to get as far away from the home Jayme disappeared from before asking for help.
They arrived at the home of teacher Kristin 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 Jayme, who was abducted after her parents were shot to death inside their Barron home.
“This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!” the neighbor declared.
Tough to tell though all the trees, but as the sun has come up we’ve been able to see the Patterson house looks to be two stories with a detached garage. There are 5 snow covered cars in the lot, and an older snowmobile in the driveway. pic.twitter.com/QQHgkWCif1
— Alexandra Lehnert (@AlexLehnertFox9) January 13, 2019
Peter Kasinskas described Jayme’s demeanor as “flat,” according to the outlet, while Nutter 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.”
The Kasinkas told CBS that Jayme appeared dirty and unkempt, wearing leggings, oversized men’s shoes and a sweatshirt.
“She looked the same as in all the photos and little thinner. Her hair was still the same color and length. She just looked a little unkempt like she hadn’t been able to take care of herself or something,” Peter said.
The Bemidji Pioneer reports that prior to police arriving, Jayme reportedly told Nutter that the man who abducted her was once in the military, killed her parents, and “turns the radio up and sometimes has people come over while he is gone.”
Authorities arrived and blocked area off surrounding to a cabin off of the 14100 block of S. Eau Claire Acres Circle, then apprehended Patterson.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said during a press conference on Friday that he wasn’t sure if Jayme was restrained in the home or how she managed to escape. The suspect was not in the home when she ran for help.
According to Fitzgerald, Patterson was driving around looking for Jayme when authorities pulled him over, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Police took Jayme to the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s hospital in Superior shortly after her rescue. She was held overnight for observation, then reunited with her aunt in her hometown of Barron.
“Jayme had a pretty good night sleep. It was great to know she was next to me all night. What a great feeling to have her home,” Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Smith, wrote Saturday morning on social media, after the girl’s first night back home. “As a family we will get through all of the healing process Jayme has.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Jayme disappeared from her Barron home after two adults, identified as her parents, James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were found dead a little after 1 a.m. on October 15. Both victims were shot to death. According to Fitzgerald, a 911 call from the home had noises in the background, but no one specifically spoke to the dispatcher.
The 911 dispatch log released on October 18 indicated the call to 911 came from the cellphone of Denise at close to 1 a.m. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald indicated no one could make out the words of the caller.
“It was on a cell phone and there was no comment made — no one communicated with the dispatcher,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t know if the word ‘help’ was said, but there was some sort of disturbance going on, which is why officers were sent to the house.”
According to the call log, the 911 dispatcher called the cell phone number back numerous times but didn’t receive an answer. Within four minutes from the time the initial call was made, officers arrived at the home, but Jayme was already gone.
Three different officers were dispatched to the family’s home, around 45 miles northwest of Eau Claire.
The first officer arrived at the family’s Barron home by 1 a.m., and 56-year-old James Closs was found by the front door. At 1:03 a.m., the officer noted that a male was down and “multiple rounds” had been spent. The incident was initially thought to be a suicide before the officer knew Denise had also been shot. At 1:06 a.m., the officer stated that the front door had apparently been kicked in.
“…ADVISED THE DOOR HAS BEEN KICKED IN. ADVISED THAT THE MALE WHO IS DOWN HAD ANSWERED THE DOOR. UNKNOWN IF ANYONE IS MISSING.” (1:06 a.m.)
At 1:11 a.m., an officer reported that both James and Denise “were down” and unresponsive. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald later confirmed that both victims had been shot and killed. Their deaths were listed as homicides.
Over two hours later, at 3:57 a.m., officers entered Jayme into the system as a “missing juvenile.” They combed the house and area thoroughly for the teen first, noting that they couldn’t find her nor any clues to her whereabouts. At 5:13 am, dispatchers sent out a “Missing Endangered Child” notification, indicating Jayme was likely abducted from the residence. Authorities later said she was likely taken by gunpoint.
Authorities previously stated they didn’t have a description of a suspect. There was nothing amiss in her home or school life on surface, and family and friends said Jayme did not have a boyfriend. Investigators reportedly searched her social media accounts and didn’t find anything unusual.
Fitzgerald reiterated that there is no evidence to suggest the suspect ever knew Jayme or her parents. Although Patterson did work at Jennie-O a few years back, the same place Jayme’s parents worked, there is no indication that he ever met or crossed paths with them. Patterson, according to Fitzgerald, only worked there one day before quitting.
Check back with CrimeOnline for additional details.
[Feature Photo: Jayme Closs, Handout/Jake Patterson, Police Handout]