Jayme Closs: Kidnapping, Escape, Reward

Natali Barias, Reporter

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Jayme Closs (left) and Jake Patterson (right)

On January 14, 2019 Jake Paterson, the main suspect in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs and the murder of both James and Denise Closs, appeared before a Barron County Circuit Court Judge. Paterson confessed to targeting Jayme by stating that, “he knew she was the girl he was going to take.”

The Planning

According to Jake Patterson’s confession, he wanted to kidnap Jayme the second he saw her getting off of her school bus. Patterson stated that he was on his way to work when he stopped behind a school bus on Highway 8. When Jayme stepped off the bus he knew immediately that he was going to kidnap her. After seeing her, he went to the local Walmart and bought any materials he would need to carry out the kidnapping and kill her parents. He wanted to ensure that there were no witnesses to the kidnapping. Along with buying supplies, Patterson removed the lights in his car to eliminate the possibility of getting caught. Patterson claimed that he had made previous attempts at kidnapping Jayme, but there was always too much commotion going on in the house.

The Killing

At around midnight on October 15, 2018, Patterson pulled into the driveway of the Closs home. Seeing the car, Jayme told her father who made his way to the front door. Patterson proceeded to pound on the door and demanded to be let in. James Closs refused, leading Patterson to shoot through a window killing James. In the midst of the commotion, Jayme and her mother, Denise Closs, retreated to the bathroom. Denise called the police from the bathroom while hiding with Jayme. After shooting open the door Patterson moved to the bathroom finding Denise “bear hugging” Jayme in an attempt to keep her safe. He ordered Denise to duck tape Jayme’s mouth. After she struggled to do so, he took the duck tape and wrapped Jayme’s hands and head in duck tape. He then shot Denise Closs, killing her.

The Kidnapping

After murdering both of Jayme’s parents, he dragged her out of the house and placed her in the trunk of his car. Patterson claimed that he saw the police cars responding to Denise’s call as he left the house with Jayme in the truck. In his confession, Patterson explained that he brought Jayme to his house and told her to change into his sisters pajamas due to the fact that Jayme had wet herself out of fear. He kept her under his bed, barricading the outer parts of the bed with heavy weights to prevent her from escaping. When people would visit his house he allegedly put the volume of his radio up in an attempt to muffle any noise that Jayme could make.

The Escape

After about three months in captivity, Jayme finally had the opportunity to be free. Patterson told Jayme that he would be leaving for a few hours, and once he left, Jayme took her chance. She pushed down the weights that kept her in and put on a pair of Patterson’s new balance shoes. She ran down the road until she ran into a former social worker named Jeanne Nutter. Recognizing who Jayme was, she brought her down the road to the house of Kristin Kasinskas, a teacher at a local school. Kasinskas called the police and in moments they arrived to reunite Jayme with her family.

The Reaction

Jayme’s family was overjoyed to see that she was alive and well. Her grandfather, Robert Naiberg, said that he was “overwhelmed.” According to her family, Jayme’s dog “crawled right up on her lap, and snuggled up to her.” Her family was grateful to know that she was safe in her own bed. On the other hand, many people who knew the suspect, Patterson, were surprised that he kidnapped Jayme. Many family members and a former teacher stated that he was a very “quiet” and “polite boy.”

The Reward

When Jayme went missing authorities offered a $50,000 for anyone who could provide information leading to Jayme’s rescue. Although Peter and Kristin Kasinskas were the ones who called the police after Jayme escaped, they have stated that they do not want the money. Peter Kasinskas stated that he believes that the money should go to Jayme because “she got herself out.” The Milwaukee FBI has said that the reward remains “under review.”