Barron County Sheriff believes suspect in Jayme Closs disappearance was a 'one-man operation'

January 12, 2019 08:10 AM

The Barron County Sheriff said Saturday morning that as far as authorities have been able to determine so far, the suspect in the disappearance of 13-year-old Jayme Closs ran a "one-man show."

Chris Fitzgerald spoke live in Barron with 5 EYEWITNEWSS NEWS reporter Callan Gray, saying law enforcement spoke with family and friends of 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson Friday. 

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RELATED: Expert: Law enforcement will need 'delicate balance' in Closs case

Patterson was arrested Thursday in Gordon, Wisconsin - shortly after authorities say Jayme was able to escape from a home at which she was being held when Patterson is believed to have been out.

She approached a woman who was walking her dog for help. That woman took Jayme to a neighbor's residence where they called 911. A description Jayme provided led to his arrest a short time later. On Friday, Fitzgerald said it is believed Patterson was out looking for Jayme when law enforcement came into contact with him.

RELATED: Safe return of Jayme Closs celebrated at Barron basketball game

"No other arrests have taken place," Fitzgerald told Gray Saturday. "We think he acted alone. We believe he acted alone. This was a one-man operation as far as we've been able to determine at this time."

Gordon, located in Douglas County, is about 60 miles north of the residence in Barron County at which Jayme's parents James and Denise were found dead on Oct. 15. Jayme had not been seen since.

RELATED: Church attended by Jayme Closs says prayers were answered

Fitzgerald said Saturday that investigators remain at the home at which Jayme was believed to have been held, still actively searching for clues.

"We know he targeted her," he said of Patterson. "Why he picked her is the million dollar question we're still trying to determine. He had no contact with any of the Closs family that we've been able to determine at this time. Either digitally or physically, or that he knew them."

RELATED: Sheriff: Authorities recover gun consistent with type of weapon used to kill parents of Jayme Closs

Jayme was reunited with family members Friday, a moment Fitzgerald said he and many others have been hoping for since October.

"She got to sleep in her own bed last night," he said. "And that was the goal of our operation for the past 88 days. We helped make it come true.

"But really Jayme is the hero here. Her will to survive and escape is what it's all about."

RELATED: Barron residents, others celebrate safe return of Jayme Closs

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