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

January 11, 2019 10:56 PM

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Friday afternoon that authorities have recovered a gun consistent with the one used in the fatal shootings of the parents of 13-year-old Jayme Closs on Oct. 15.

But authorities are awaiting confirmation that it was the same weapon used in that crime.

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RELATED: Suspect in Jayme Closs case identified

Closs was discovered safely Thursday afternoon in Douglas County, about 60 miles north of the residence in Barron County at which her parents James and Denise were found dead in October. Jayme had not been seen since.

On Friday afternoon, Fitzgerald said the gun used in those shootings was a shotgun and it was also used to shoot open the door to the Kloss home. It was one of multiple weapons authorities have recovered, he said.

RELATED: Sheriff: Description provided by Jayme Closs helped lead to suspect's arrest

A suspect - identified as 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson - was arrested shortly after Closs approached a woman walking her dog Thursday afternoon in Gordon, Wisconsin. The woman took Closs to a neighbor's home where they called 911.

Fitzgerald said it is believed Patterson - who is being held in the Barron County Jail - was not home at the time Closs escaped.

"We believe he was out looking for her when law enforcement made contact with him," he said.

Fitzgerald also said the suspect altered his physical appearance, including by shaving his head, in order to not leave behind forensic evidence.

RELATED: Family has been reunited with Jayme Closs

Patterson is being held on suspicion of two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of kidnapping. Fitzgerald said his first court appearance is scheduled to come at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

The criminal complaint is also expected to be printed that day.

"I know all of you are seeking a reason why any of this happened," Fitzgerald said. "Believe me, so are we."

At this time, Fitzgerald said authorities are not looking at any other suspects.

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

He said there is no evidence that shows Patterson knew anyone inside the Closs home or had any contact with them before the kidnapping.

"We don't have any indication that he made contact with anyone in the family at any time," he said.

Jennie-O Turkey, where Jim and Denise Closs were employed, issued a statement about Jayme's recovery Friday. 

The company said Patterson was employed at Jennie-O Turkey for one day "nearly three years ago." The statement said he quit, "citing that he was moving from the area."

But Fitzgerald said it was not believed he crossed paths with either of Jayme's parents. He said Patterson was currently unemployed.

He also said that Jayme was reunited with her aunt at a hospital in Duluth Friday and is expected to be reunited with other family members this evening.

"She's doing about as well as circumstances will allow," he said.

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