5 Disturbing Facts About The Kidnapping Of Jayme Closs
Inside the horrific 2018 double homicide and abduction, as well as the 13-year-old's heroic escape.
At about 12:50 A.M. on October 15, 2018, James Thomas Patterson, 21, used a shotgun to force his way into the home of 13-year-old Jayme Closs. Once inside, he used the weapon to execute the girl’s parents, Denise Closs, 46, and James Closs, 56. Minutes later, Patterson had abducted Jayme and vanished.
For the next 88 days, Patterson held Jayme captive in his rural Wisconsin cabin, terrorizing her and confining her to a space under his bed for up to 12 hours at a time with no food, water, or bathroom breaks.
On January 10, 2019, Jayme managed to free herself and run for help. Police tracked down Patterson almost immediately. He has since pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional first-degree homicide in the deaths of and one count of kidnapping for his abduction of Jayme. He is slated to be sentenced on May 24, 2019.
Here are five fascinating details in the sad, shocking saga.
1. A 911 Call Came In From Denise Closs’s Cell Phone During The Attack; Police Just Missed The Killer By “20 Seconds”
At 12:53 A.M., a 911 call was made from inside the Closs family home by someone using Denise Closs’s cell phone. No one spoke, but yelling and a disturbance could be heard before the caller hung up. An instant callback went directly to voicemail. The dispatcher sent police to the house immediately.
As responders rushed to the Closs home following the 911 call, they sped past just one vehicle on the road. It was a red Ford Taurus that yielded to the police cars and then calmly drove away.
It turned out that Jake Thomas Patterson was behind the wheel of the Taurus, and that Jayme Closs had been stuffed in the trunk with her hands and ankles bound together, and tape stretched across her mouth to keep her quiet.
Officers arrived on the scene at 12:57 A.M. They found the front door blasted open and the bodies of James and Denise dead from gunshot wounds. Jayme Closs was missing. The timing led them to believe that Jayme had been home when her parents were murdered — mere minutes earlier.
In later police interviews, Patterson said he was about “20 seconds from the house,” when he pulled over to allow the passage of three squad cars with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Patterson also said that, had the cops stopped, he “most likely would have shot at the police.”
In addition, Jayme told investigators she heard the police cars zoom by from the trunk “a very short time” after Patterson started to drive away. [CNN]
2. With Jayme Still Missing, A Burglar Broke Into The Closs Home On The Day Of Her Parents’ Funerals & Stole The Teen’s Clothes
While a massive search was underway to locate Jayme, Denise and James Closs were laid to rest on October 30, 2018. That very same day, Kyle Jaenke-Annis, 32, was arrested for burglary after motion-capture cameras caught him allegedly breaking into the family’s home.
Deputies said a search of Jaenke-Annis turned up two tank tops, a dress, and a pair of girls underpants in his pocket. The suspect allegedly admitted to taking the items because he was “curious about what size Jayme was.”
Jaenke-Annis also claimed not to know the family, but investigators say he was employed at the same Jennie-O Turkey company where both Denise and James worked. Police cleared Jaenke-Annis from having any connection to Jayme’s disappearance, but charged him with burglary. [KSTP]
3. Patterson Reportedly Threw A Christmas Party While Jayme Was Imprisoned Under His Bed
According to court documents, Jake Thomas Patterson held a Christmas Day gathering at the “ramshackle” Wisconsin cabin he called the “Patterson Retreat” while ordering Jayme to remain still and silent underneath his twin bed.
It was the same horrible space where, after hitting and threatening her, Patterson routinely held Jayme for up to 12 hours at a time without food or water. Once Jayme was under the bed, a police document alleges that Patterson “stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights (like weights for barbells) stacked against them so she could not move them without his being able to detect if she did.”
Some of the multiple Christmas party guests spoke anonymously to the press and said Patterson’s father and sister were among those on hand. Authorities later confirmed, “The family was there.”
Still, it’s believed no one knew or had any reason to suspect that Jayme was in the home at the time. Police also said, “[Patterson] told [Jayme] that if she made a noise or tried to escape, he would kill her." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
4. After 88 Days In Captivity, Jayme Closs Successfully Fled To Freedom
On January 10, 2019, Jake Thomas Patterson ordered Jayme to get under his bed. He told her he’d be gone for “five or six hours.” Once Jayme was convinced her captor was far enough away, she threw on a pair of Patterson's shoes and fled the cabin that had been her prison.
According to legal documents, Jayme “walked out of the house and walked towards the road to a woman who she saw walking a dog.” Jayme told the woman who she was and said her parents were murdered and that she’d been kidnapped.
Jeanne Nutter, the dog-walker, who also happened to work as a social worker and trauma counselor, took Jayme to the home of a nearby neighbor, Kristin Kasinskas, and immediately called 911.
Kasinkas described Jayme as looking “slender,” and “a little unkempt, but okay.” She also said Jayme “didn’t express any fear.” [KARE11]
5. Patterson Confessed To Murder & Kidnapping; Also Said When He First Spotted Jayme He “Knew She Was The Girl He Was Going To Take”
As officers drove Jayme to a protective-custody space the day she escaped, they passed a red Ford Taurus and ran the plates. It was registered to a female with the last name “Patterson.”
A deputy pulled the car over. The driver identified himself as Jake Patterson and reportedly said, “I did it.”
Police arrested Patterson on the spot and he reportedly confessed shortly thereafter to killing Denise and James Closs, and to kidnapping Jayme.
Patterson allegedly said he first spotted Jayme getting on a school bus while he was driving home from work at the Saputo Cheese Factory. According to legal documents, Patterson claimed to have "had no idea who she was, nor did he know who lived at the house,” but upon first sight, "he knew that was the girl he was going to take."
Patterson also reportedly told investigators that he had driven out to the Closs home to kidnap Jayme twice prior to October 15, but he had gotten scared off by activity in the area each previous time.
From there, Patterson detailed how he altered his license plate, dressed in black, and took his father’s 12-gauge shotgun to commit the crime because, an investigator noted, “he assumed it would be more difficult to trace [and] it would inflict the most damage."
After murdering James Closs, Patterson told police that Denise and Jayme locked themselves in the bathroom. He said he beat down the door, found the mother and daughter clutching one another in the tub, and shot Denise in the head, “because he knew that head shots were the best way to kill a person."
Patterson went on to describe forcing Jayme to stay under his bed and keeping her terrified for her life over the ensuing 88 days. He said that upon arriving home on January 10, he saw footprints outside the cabin and he “knew he’d been caught.”
Police charged Patterson with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. He pleaded guilty and has been held in custody on $5 million bail. Patterson is expected to be sentenced on May 24. [WITI]