Suspect in Jayme Closs disappearance makes first court appearance

January 14, 2019 07:03 PM

Wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, Jake Patterson, the 21-year-old suspect in the disappearance of Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents James and Denise at the family's Barron County residence on Oct. 15, made his first court appearance Monday afternoon via video conference call from the Barron County Jail.

Earlier in the day, a criminal complaint filed against Patterson listed two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary.


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

Patterson appeared to review the complaint in front of him as the judge in the courtroom outlined the counts against him. He repeatedly answered 'yes sir' in response to the procedural questions asked of him.

Outlining the nature of the crimes he is accused of, and the steps he took to conceal his acts, prosecutors asked the judge to set cash bail at $5 million - an amount the judge agreed to.

"I find substantial cash bail is necessary to ensure the defendant appears in court," the judge said, while also agreeing to non-financial conditions including no possession of firearms and no contact with principal figures in the case, including Jayme.

Patterson's next court appearance is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Feb. 6.

RELATED: 911 audio released in Jayme Closs case

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.

Barron County Attorney Brian Wright said prosecutors are approaching their task with the utmost seriousness given the nature of the crimes Patterson is accused of.

"You have two parents of a 13-year-old who are deceased," he said. "You have a 13-year-old who was abducted for 88 days against her will - forcibly. It doesn't get any more serious than that."

Wright said any decisions on whether Jayme herself will testify would be made at a later date.

"At this point, there is no intention of having her testify at any proceeding coming up," he said.

According to the complaint, Patterson confessed to killing James and Denise Closs 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."

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

Also Monday, the Associated Press reported Patterson once washed out of the U.S. Marine Corps after little more than a month.

He wrote in his high school yearbook that he planned to join the Marines after graduation. But military records show he lasted for only about five weeks before being prematurely discharged in October 2015 at the rank of private.

Marine spokeswoman Yvonne Carlock said by email that Patterson's early discharge indicated "the character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps' expectations and standards."

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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