Just before 1am on October 15th, 2018 Jayme Closs woke up to her dog Molly barking at something outside her window. She looked out her window and saw a car driving up her driveway. She ran to her parents bedroom to wake them. Her father James Closs walked to their front door and peered out the side window while Jayme and her mother Denise ran to the bathroom to hide. James was confronted by a man dressed in all black, holding a Mossberg pump action shotgun. That man, who was later identified as Jake Patterson, yelled at James to open the door then fired once into the home, killing James. Jake then walked through the home, checking the rooms for any more witnesses. He broke down the locked bathroom door and found Jayme and Denise wrapped up in a bear hug. He forced Denise to wrap Jayme’s mouth, hands, and feet in black duct tape. When Denise struggled to do so, he took matters into his own hands, killing Denise and dragging Jayme out of the home.
According to the dispatch log, this is the timeline of events from that morning:
12:55am- Jake Patterson enters the home.
12:58am – Denise calls 911. Dispatch hears screaming in the background and the call is disconnected. They attempt to dial the caller back multiple times but are unsuccessful. In this short time, Jake kills James and Denise and kidnaps Jayme.
1:03am – Officers are dispatched to the home for a reported suicide attempt. On their 3 mile drive to the home, they pass an older maroon colored vehicle that has pulled over to the side to let emergency vehicles pass.
1:04am – Officers arrive at the home to find James deceased in the doorway.
1:08am – Officers find Denise deceased in the bathtub.
2:36am – Officers officially change the call from a suicide to a homicide.
3:27am – Officers enter Jayme L Closs as a missing juvenile.
At 3:30pm a nationwide Amber Alert is sent out for Jayme Closs and the tips start rolling in. The FBI investigate and rule out a tip that Jayme was seen at a gas station with two men in Miami. The police send out multiple press releases over the next few days, asking the public to watch for any unusual behavior. They ask for volunteers to do multiple searches of the woods around the Closs home that turn up nothing related to the kidnapping. Jayme’s face is on billboards and news channels across the country.
On Monday October 22nd, exactly one week after the kidnapping, Barron County Sherriff Chris Fitzgerald held a press conference and released new information. They ask the public to call in with any tips regarding two vehicles that were in the area at the time – a red/orange Dodge Challenger and a black Ford Edge or Acura MDX.
On October 27th, officers were again dispatched to the Closs home. Kyle Jaenke, a Jennie-O employee and co-worker of James and Denise, broke into the Closs home to steal Jayme’s clothing. He was caught with a tank top, a dress, and a pair of underwear. Officers reveal that he is not a suspect as he has no car, only a bike.
The next 2.5 months passed with little to no information from anybody. A few tips roll in regarding Jayme but officers are able to close out most of them.
On January 10th, 2019 a Facebook page called “Back The Blue” posted an update that nobody saw coming. They claimed that Jayme Closs has been found alive 5 hours away in Walworth County. Sheriff Fitzgerald quickly debunked that rumor, but a few hours later he found that he did actually have a break in the case. After 88 days in captivity, Jayme Closs has been found alive in Gordon, WI – one hour north of Barron.
According to the criminal complaint, on January 10th at 4:11pm, Jeanne Nutter was walking her dogs in Gordon, WI and was almost home when she saw a teenage girl in the road wearing two mens shoes on the wrong feet. The girl said “I’m Jayme Closs. I don’t know where I am. He killed my parents. Please help – I want to go home.” Jeanne took Jayme to another neighbor’s home and called 911. Jayme told the women that her kidnapper drove a Ford and was named Jake. Douglas County Officers located a maroon Ford Taurus driven by Jake Patterson, the same car that had passed the first responders on the night of the kidnapping. An officer stopped the car and asked Jake to step out. As he did, he said “I know what this is about and I did it.”
Jayme told investigators that after he had placed her in the trunk, Jake drove the hour north to his family cabin. In the cabin, he told Jayme to remove all of her clothing and put on a pair of his sisters pajamas. He told Jayme he was going to burn all of their clothing so there was no evidence. For 88 days he kept Jayme locked in the cabin. During her time in captivity, he had people over on multiple occasions. He would force Jayme to hide under his twin sized bed, placing large totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights on top of them. On one occasion Jayme accidentally moved a tote and Jake punched a wall, screamed, and told Jayme that if she did it again then “bad things would happen to her.” Jake would turn music on in his bedroom so that his visitors wouldn’t know she was there. Jake often left the home, leaving Jayme alone under the bed for up to 12 hours at one point. On the morning of her escape, Jake had actually filled out a job application to work at a liquor store. He then left for 5-6 hours, giving Jayme her opening to run.
While being interviewed by officers after his arrest, Jake told them that on October 4th, on his way home from a temp job at Saputo Cheese Factory near Barron, he witnessed Jayme getting off the school bus and knew that she was the “girl he was going to take.” He did not know her and had never seen her before. He went to Walmart and purchased a black mask. Then on his way back up to Gordon he stopped and stole the license plates off a vehicle to use in the abduction. He removed and disconnected the dome light in his car and removed the trunk light and the glow in the dark trunk release, which he called the “kidnapping cord.” Jake had gone to the Closs home on two other occasions, one time there were too many cars in the driveway and another time there were lights on in the home. On the third attempt, he took extreme measures to conceal his DNA. He shaved his head, shaved all of his facial hair, showered, and wore two pairs of gloves. He took his fathers shotgun because he had done research that the Mossberg brand was one of the most heavily manufactured and was the hardest to trace. He took six 12 gauge shotgun shells because he said the slugs would inflict the most damage and would be the best weapon to kill. He then wiped the shells and the shotgun down before loading them.
Jake said he was confident that he would never be caught. He had been keeping the shotgun near the front door in case the police showed up but after two weeks he decided that it was no longer necessary and he removed the gun. He knew Jayme was too afraid of him to try to escape.
Jake Patterson pled guilty to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of armed burglary, and one count of kidnapping. Jake was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional 40 years on May 24, 2019.
Jayme was not at the court hearing but she did write this powerful statement that her lawyer read to the courts:
“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad. I love my mom and my dad very much and they love me very much. They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever.
I felt safe in my home and I loved my room and all my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory.
I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep. I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to dance. He took all of those things away from me too.
It’s too hard for me to go out in public. I get scared and I get anxious. These are just ordinary things that anyone like me should be able to do but I can’t because he took them away from me.
But there are some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can’t take my freedom. He thought he that he could own me but he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.
Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me but he couldn’t. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave and he was not.
He can’t ever take away my spirit. He thought that he could make me like him, but he was wrong. He can’t ever change me or take away who I am. He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not.
Jake Patterson will never have any power over me. I feel like I have some power over him because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him.
He stole my parents from me. He stole almost everything I love from me. For 88 days he tried to steal me and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.”
After his sentencing, Jake wrote a letter to KARE11’s Lou Raguse, replying to a few questions that the news anchor had asked him. He claims that he “doesn’t think like a serial killer” and that this entire event was “done on impulse.” He says he “can’t believe he did this,” and in big bubble letters on the back of the letter he wrote “I’m sorry Jayme.”
Jayme and her family continue to work through this and request that they are allowed to do so privately. Jake has been privately relocated to a prison in New Mexico “for his safety.”