Suspect in Jayme Closs case tried to kidnap her twice previously, complaint states
Eric Levenson and Marlena Baldacci, CNN
(CNN) — The suspect accused of killing James and Denise Closs and kidnapping their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme, first spotted her when he was on his way to work, as she was getting into a school bus, according to a criminal complaint released Monday by the Barron County District Attorney.
“The defendant states, when he saw (Jayme) he knew that was the girl he was going to take,” the complaint states.
But he did not know her name until after he abducted her, and only learned the names of her parents from news programs and social media posts about the killings, the complaint states.
The startling criminal complaint comes on the same day that Jake Patterson, 21, made his first court appearance in Barron County to face charges of intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary. A judge ordered Patterson held on $5 million bail and ordered that a DNA sample be collected.
The judge also ordered that Patterson could not posses firearms, and could not have contact with Jayme and Patterson’s neighbors who were involved in Jayme’s escape.
Patterson faces up to life in prison is convicted of the homicide charge.
Last Thursday, Jayme was found alive about 70 miles from her home in rural northwestern Wisconsin. Patterson is accused of shooting and killing Jayme’s parents before abducting the 13-year-old from her home on October 15.
But after going missing for 88 days, Jayme was found walking down a road in Gordon, Wisconsin, in frigid weather without a coat and gloves. She had fled the home where law enforcement says she was being kept, and came across a woman walking her dog. That woman then took Jayme to a nearby home and called police.
The complaint is based on information from deputies, Jayme Closs, and Patterson, and represents the first time their perspectives have been made public.
Patterson told investigators that he had been to the house twice previously before October 15 to try to kidnap her, the complaint states.
A week prior, he drove to the home but was scared off because there were all kinds of cars in the driveway, he told investigators in the complaint. A day or two later, he again drove to the Closs home but saw the lights were on and people were walking around, so he decided not to go through with the plan, he told investigators.
But on October 15, Jayme told investigators that she got up to learn why her dog was barking and saw a vehicle coming up their driveway. The suspect then shot and killed her father at the door as she and her mother hid in the bathroom, the complaint states, and her mother held her in a bear hug.
Patterson then broke down the bathroom door and told her mother to put tape over Jayme’s mouth, but she struggled to do so, according to the complaint. He then put tape around Jayme’s mouth himself, bound her by the hands and ankles, and then fatally shot her mother, the complaint states. He dragged her out to the trunk of his car and drove her back to his home, the complaint states.
Public Defenders Richard Jones and Charles Glynn, who represent Patterson, told CNN affiliate WCCO that they understand how hard the case had hit the community.
“This is a tragic situation from every perspective. A lot of heavy hearts, a lot of thoughts and prayers going around,” Glynn said. “You’ve seen how people have come together the last few months, there’s going to be a whole lot of healing that needs to go on in this community from every perspective, and we have all the faith in the world that will take place.”
They did not share many specifics about their client’s case, WCCO reported. The lawyers have not responded to multiple CNN requests for comment.
3 months in captivity, and an escape
Once Jayme was in captivity, the suspect took her clothes and other items and destroyed them to hide evidence, the complaint states.
Jayme told detectives that Patterson would make her hide under his twin-sized bed in his bedroom when he had friends or relatives over, including repeated visits from his father. The suspect “made it clear that nobody was to know she was there or bad things would happen to her,” the complaint states.
When she was under his bed, he stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights and barbells stacked against them so she could not move them without him noticing, the complaint states.
“One time, (Jayme) stated she accidentally moved one of the totes when she was told to hide under the bed and Patterson told her something bad would happen if she did it again.”
In one instance, the suspect “hit her ‘really hard’ on her back with what she described as a handle for something used to clean blinds” when he got mad at her.
The suspect would also turn music on in his room so she couldn’t hear what was happening if there was anyone else in the home, the complaint states.
After three months in captivity, on January 10, he told Jayme he was going to leave for five to six hours and made her go under the bed. When he left, she pushed the weights away from the bed, put on a pair of his shoes and walked out of the house toward a woman walking a dog.
In his confession to police, Patterson explained how he took a number of steps to carry out his plan and conceal his identity.
For one, he stole a pair of license plates and put them onto his vehicle because he did not want his own plates to be spotted. He also disconnected the vehicle’s dome light so that he would not be visible when he opened the door, the complaint states.
In addition, he wiped down the shotgun wearing gloves so there would be no fingerprints on them. He also shaved his face and his head hair prior to the kidnapping so that he would not leave any DNA evidence at the scene, the complaint states.
He thought he had gotten away with it, too, he told police — until he arrived home on January 10 to see that Jayme was not under his bed, and that her footprints were outside. He got into his car and drove around looking for her, and when he returned home he was met by police.
“The defendant stated it was at that point that he knew he was caught,” the complaint says.
Suspect expected in court on Monday
Aunts, cousins and other members of Jayme’s family will be present when Patterson makes his first court appearance, family member Angela De Andriano told CNN.
De Andriano, who is the niece of Jayme’s aunt, Sue Allard, told CNN in a phone interview that Sue, her sister Jennifer, and Sue’s son, Jake Allard, are all expected to be in court for Patterson’s appearance.
According to De Andriano, the family wants to be in court because “they want justice.”
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Monday that the case was still very active and that he could not share details of what Patterson had told authorities. He did say that Patterson acted alone and that he had a “very targeted approach and planned out attack” on the family.
“I did meet with Jayme last night, and that shy 13-year-old girl that we’ve been describing for 88 days has got a big smile on her face,” he said.
Investigators are working to piece together what happened over the last three months, including the conditions of the house and how she escaped.
Nearly three years ago, Patterson worked for one day at the same meat products facility where Jayme’s parents worked — the Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Barron — the company’s president said. Patterson quit, saying he was moving from the area, according to the company.
Authorities have said they don’t believe Patterson crossed paths with Jayme’s parents there.
Fitzgerald said that he did not believe there was a connection between Patterson and the Closs family, and there was no social media contact or digital footprint connecting them. Detectives have been searching the suspect’s home for clues and evidence that could help explain what happened.
“All I know is that she was able to get out of that house and get help and the people recognized her as Jayme Closs right away,” Fitzgerald said over the weekend.
Closs was released from a Minnesota hospital Friday and is staying in Barron, Wisconsin, with an aunt.
Jayme “had a pretty good night sleep,” her aunt Jennifer Smith posted Saturday to Facebook.
“It was great to know she was next to me all night,” she wrote. “What a great feeling to have her home.”