Jayme Closs, 13-Year Old, Survives 88 Days of Abduction

Jayme Closs was found alive by a dog walker after escaping her captor, Jake Patterson, in Douglas County, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Jan. 10. Jayme first went missing on October 15 in her hometown of Barron, Wisconsin. On the same day she disappeared, her parents, Denise and James Closs, were found shot to death in their home. Jayme was missing by the time authorities arrived at her house.

Jayme was found 70 miles away from her hometown in Gordon, Wisconsin. Many locals told various news outlets they were unaware Patterson was in their town and had Jayme with him. On January 10, he left his home for a few hours, leaving Jayme under a bed. After being held for 88 days, Jayme had decided to escape.

After her escape, a local resident out walking a dog found her and brought her to their neighbor’s house where the authorities were called. After being located using descriptions provided by Jayme, Patterson was arrested when he went out in his car searching for Jayme.

Patterson first saw Jayme boarding her school bus while he was driving. He knew nothing about her, and did not even know her name until people began to look for her. Patterson confessed after his arrest, admitting he went to the Closs residence twice before October 15. Prior to Jayme’s kidnapping, Patterson bought a black mask, removed the interior lights of his car, locked the trunk, and stole license plates. No finger prints were found at the scene because of the gloves he used with the gun that killed James and Denis.

Patterson claimed he did not leave anyone alive to avoid having eyewitnesses. When he first entered the house, he killed James at the door. Jayme and her mother were hiding in a bathtub and had called the police from a cell phone. When Patterson found them in the bathtub, he made Jayme’s mother put tape on her mouth and tie her wrist and ankles down.

Patterson fled with Jayme after killing her mother. They later arrived at Patterson’s house, where Jayme would remain for 88 days. He later burned the gloves, Jayme’s clothes, and the duct tape used on Jayme in order to avoid having evidence in his possession.

When Jayme was forced to hide under his bed, Patterson would use weights around the bed to ensure that she could not move without him knowing. Sometimes she would be left there for 12 hours with no bathroom breaks or food. On Thursday, Patterson left Jayme under the bed while he left the house. Jayme pushed away the weights and ran from the house using Patterson’s shoes.

Jayme was immediately recognized by the residents of Gordon; her face had been plastered on posters and in the news around most nearby towns, and she had headlined the media and news outlets for weeks. Jayme even hit the F.B.I.’s missing persons list with a reward of 50,000 dollars.

After undergoing medical examination, Jayme rejoined her family on Friday, Jan. 12.

After Patterson’s arrest, he continued to confess chilling details of the crime he had committed. Patterson will be charged for intentional homicide, Jayme’s abduction, and burglary. His first court appearance was Monday, Jan. 14, and his bail was posted at five million dollars.  Mary McGuire, a sophomore, said “It is completely disgusting and immoral that he killed two people. He committed murder, abducted a human being, and deprived her of her life for months–he shouldn’t get any type of bail.”

Prior to Jayme’s abduction, Patterson had no criminal record. He is due to reappear again to defend himself against the criminal charges. The prosecuting attorney of Barron County, Brian Wright, had pushed for high priced bail, and hopes the case’s evidence will be enough to convict Patterson without putting Jayme on the witness stand.