BARRON, Wis. (AP) — A 21-year-old man shot a Wisconsin couple to death at their home in a scheme to kidnap their teenage daughter, then held the girl captive for three months before she escaped in an isolated north woods town, authorities said Friday.
Jayme Closs, 13, was skinny, disheveled and wearing shoes too big for her when she approached a stranger and pleaded for help Thursday in the small town of Gordon, where Jake Thomas Patterson lives.
Patterson was apparently out looking for her when he was arrested and jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.
The news that Jayme was safe set off joy and relief 60 miles away in her hometown of Barron, population 3,300, ending an all-out search that gripped the state, with many people fearing the worst the longer she was missing.
“My legs started to shake. It was awesome,” Fitzgerald said of the moment he learned Jayme had been found.
Jayme told a neighbor in Gordon who took her in that she walked away from a cabin where she had
been held captive.
“She said this person’s name was Jake Patterson, ‘He killed my parents and took me,’” said another neighbor, Kristin Kasinskas. “She did not talk about why or how. She said she did not know him.”
The sheriff said he didn’t know if Jayme had been physically abused but that she was hospitalized overnight and released after an exam, and she was “doing as well as circumstances allow,” he said.
Patterson had no criminal record, according to the sheriff. He graduated in 2015 from Northwood High School. Kasinskas said she taught Patterson science in middle school, but added: “I don’t really remember a ton about him.”
Patterson was scheduled for an initial court appearance Monday.