Suspect chose Jayme Closs because he saw her boarding school bus, according to complaint

January 15, 2019 11:58 AM

The suspect in the disappearance of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents in the family's Barron County, Wisconsin residence on Oct. 15 reportedly told authorities he decided to abduct her after seeing her boarding a school bus.

That's according to the criminal complaint filed against 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson Monday. He made his first court appearance later Monday afternoon via video conference call from the Barron County Jail.

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Cash bail was set at $5 million.

RELATED: Suspect in Jayme Closs disappearance makes first court appearance

The complaint lists two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. Speaking after the court appearance, prosecutors said there would be no additional charges in Barron County, but left open the possibility additional charges could be filed in Douglas County for crimes allegedly committed there.

Patterson was arrested Thursday in Gordon, Wisconsin (in Douglas County) - shortly after authorities say Jayme was able to escape from a home at which she was being held when Patterson was 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 Patterson's arrest a short time later.

RELATED: Neighbors 'stunned' to learn Jayme Closs allegedly held captive just yards from their homes

Jayme's parents James and Denise were found dead at their Barron County residence on Oct. 15, and Jayme had not been seen since.

According to the complaint, Patterson confessed to killing James and Denise and kidnapping Jayme. He allegedly told authorities he worked at a cheese factory south of Almena - which is also in Barron County - for two days before quitting. On his drive to the cheese factory on one of his two mornings there, he had stopped behind a school bus on Highway 8 and said he watched Jayme get on.

"The defendant stated he had no idea who she was nor did he know who lived at the house or how many people lived at the house," the complaint reads. "The defendant stated, when he saw (Jayme), he knew that was the girl he was going to take."

RELATED: 911 audio released in Jayme Closs case

He stated he drove to the home twice with the intent of kidnapping Jayme prior to Oct. 15. He said one time, there "were all kinds of cars in the driveway and it scared him off." On a second occasion, he "noticed the lights were on in the house and people were walking around in the house so he decided not to do it then."

RELATED: Attorneys for suspect Jake Patterson talk emotions, healing, along with kidnapping and homicide charges

He reportedly prepared for the abduction by stealing license plates to avoid being stopped or spotted with his own, and took steps to avoid leaving fingerprints or DNA – including shaving his face and all the hair off his head, as well as showering, before he left for the Closs home on Oct. 15. 

Man at the door with a gun

According to the complaint, Jayme said she was asleep in her bedroom on the night she was abducted when her dog started barking. She got up to investigate and saw someone driving up their driveway. She notified her parents and her father reportedly went to the front door to see what was going on.

He then reportedly said there was a man - later identified as Patterson - at the door with a gun.

The complaint states Jayme said she and her mother were hiding in the bathroom with the door closed when Jayme "stated she heard a gunshot and knew her father had just been killed."

Her mother called 911 shortly before Patterson is said to have broken down the bathroom door and told her to hang up the phone.

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

Jayme described him as being dressed in black from head to toe, including a face mask, hat and gloves.

According to the complaint, Jayme said Patterson told her mother to put tape over Jayme's mouth, which she did. It was at that point, the complaint states, Jayme said Patterson shot Denise.

He then allegedly tied Jayme's hands and ankles together and dragged her to his car. The complaint states Jayme thought she was in the trunk of the car for two hours before they arrived at a house.

Keeping her hidden

She said Patterson made it clear that "nobody was to know she was there or bad things would happen to her."

In order to hide her presence when friends or relatives were over, Jayme said Patterson made her hide under his bed in his bedroom. He then reportedly stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights stacked against them so she could not move without his detection.

The complaint states Patterson said he went to visit one of his grandparents in Superior at Christmas and was gone for 12 hours. He told Jayme she was not allowed to exit from under the bed until he returned.

Day of the escape

On the day of her escape last Thursday, Jayme reportedly said Patterson left the house and told her he would be gone for five or six hours. She said he again made her go under the bed, but she was able to push away the bins and weights and crawl out. 

She then put on a pair of his shoes, walked out of the house and found the woman walking her dog, the complaint states. She said she told the woman who she was "and that Jake Patterson kidnapped her." 


Jayme Closs's escape defied the odds. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 165 activations of the AMBER Alert system in 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available. In most of those cases, the child was recovered within the first 12 hours of the AMBER Alert being issued.  

In only five cases were children recovered when 48 hours or more had passed from the start of the AMBER Alert, a recovery rate of just three percent.


According to the complaint, the woman - identified as Jeanne Nutter - said Jayme approached her saying "I'm Jayme Closs," "I don't know where I am," and "He killed my parents." She said she made the decision to go to the neighbor's residence because, though she did not know Patterson, she knew that his cabin was only two driveways west of her own place.

"(Nutter) described (Jayme) as being in shock, tired, with matted hair and messy clothes," the complaint reads.

Thought he'd gotten away with it

The complaint states Patterson said he "basically assumed he had gotten away with killing James and Denise and kidnapping (Jayme) since he hadn't been caught for the first two weeks."

He reportedly told authorities he had never met Jayme on social media, and only learned her name after the abduction when they got back to his house.

"(Patterson) stated he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly," the complaint reads.

Barron County Attorney Brian Wright said Monday that there is additional information not contained in the complaint that will surface as legal proceedings go on.

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