BARRON, Wis. (AP) — A 21-year-old man is jailed in the deaths of a Wisconsin couple he killed because he wanted to kidnap their teenage daughter, investigators said Friday, a day after the girl approached a stranger along a rural road saying she’d been abducted in October and held against her will.
Jake Thomas Patterson was taken into custody shortly after 13-year-old Jayme Closs sought help from a woman walking her dog in a rural, heavily wooded neighborhood near the small town of Gordon, about 60 miles north of Barron. Jayme disappeared from her family’s home in Barron when her parents were killed Oct. 15.
During a news conference Friday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Jayme was taken against her will. The sheriff also said investigators don’t believe Patterson had any contact with the family.
Fitzgerald said investigators believe Patterson killed Jayme’s parents because he wanted to abduct her, and that Patterson “planned his actions and took many steps to hide his identity.”
Fitzgerald said investigators believe the girl was “the only target.”
A woman said she was walking her dog along a rural road Thursday afternoon when a disheveled teenage girl called out to her for help, quickly grabbed her and told her she was lost. Only then did the girl reveal her name.
Jeanne Nutter said Friday that Jayme told her she had walked away from a cabin where she’d been held captive, a cabin not far from Nutter’s home.
“I was terrified, but I didn’t want to show her that,” Nutter, a social worker who spent years working in child protection, told The Associated Press on Friday. “She just yelled please help me I don’t know where I am. I’m lost.”
Nutter said she didn’t want to bring Jayme to her nearby home because it was too close to where she’d been found, and she didn’t want them to be alone. She said: “My only thought was to get her to a safe place.”
The two went elsewhere in the neighborhood, to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas. Jayme was skinny and dirty, wearing shoes too big for her feet, but appeared outwardly OK, the neighbors said.
“I honestly still think I’m dreaming right now. It was like I was seeing a ghost,” Peter Kasinskas told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “My jaw just went to the floor.”
Jayme went missing after police discovered someone had broken into the family’s home outside Barron and fatally shot her parents, James and Denise Closs. Jayme was nowhere to be found. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department said the girl had likely been abducted.
Detectives pursued thousands of tips, watched dozens of surveillance videos and conducted numerous searches in the effort to find Jayme. Some tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search on Oct. 23, but it yielded no clues.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in Novemberthat he kept similar cases in the back of his mind as he worked to find Jayme, including the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was 14 when she was taken from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. She was rescued nine months later with the help of two witnesses who recognized her abductors from an “America’s Most Wanted” episode.
“I have a gut feeling she’s (Jayme’s) still alive,” Fitzgerald said at the time.
He was right.
During the 20 minutes Jayme was in their home, Peter and Kristin Kasinskas said they tried to make her feel more comfortable. They offered her water and food, but she declined both. Jayme was quiet, her emotions “pretty flat,” Peter Kasinskas said.
Jayme told the couple she didn’t know where she was or anything about Gordon. From what she told them, they believed she was there for most of her disappearance.
Gordon is about 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) south of Lake Superior and about 65 miles (104.6 kilometers) north of Barron, Jayme’s hometown. Gordon is home to about 645 people in a heavily forested region where logging is the top industry.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in the town at 4:43 p.m. Thursday, and that a suspect was taken into custody 11 minutes later.
Sue Allard, Jayme’s aunt, told the Star Tribune that she could barely express her joy after learning the news Thursday night.
“Praise the Lord,” Allard said between sobs. “It’s the news we’ve been waiting on for three months. I can’t wait to get my arms around her. I just can’t wait.”
BARRON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on authorities in Wisconsin finding 13-year-old Jayme Closs alive nearly three months after her parents were killed and she disappeared (all times local):
A Wisconsin couple is describing the dramatic moments when a neighbor pounded on their door to say she had stumbled across Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old girl who had been missing nearly three months.
Kristin and Peter Kasinskas say their neighbor had a skinny, dirty girl with matted hair standing next to her. The neighbor shouted, “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!”
Peter Kasinskas tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Jayme was quiet and showed little emotion. He says she told them she didn’t know where she was or anything about Gordon, the small town near where she was found.
Jayme’s parents were killed in October at the family’s home near Barron and Jayme went missing. The place where she was found is a little more than an hour’s drive to the north.
Authorities say they have a suspect in custody and planned to release more information Friday.
A town official says a Wisconsin girl who turned up safe after being missing nearly three months was found in a small forested area of cabin-like homes about 6 miles east of the small Town of Gordon.
Jayme Closs was found Thursday afternoon in northwestern Wisconsin, about 65 miles north of where her parents were shot to death and Jayme vanished from their home in October.
Denny Kline, board chairman in the Town of Gordon, says he first learned Jayme was found while listening to a police scanner, which he has for work. He says he heard Jayme was walking down the road and someone stopped near her.
Kline says he heard on the scanner that Jayme told them who she was, and they brought her to their home.
The Associated Press was not able to verify Kline’s account with authorities late Thursday. The non-emergency line at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office rang unanswered and Sheriff Thomas Dalbec didn’t respond to an email.
Authorities say a suspect is in custody but aren’t giving other details ahead of a Friday news conference.
Wisconsin authorities say a teenager missing since her parents were killed in October was found alive in a tiny town about 40 miles south of Lake Superior.
Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs went missing Oct. 15 when her parents were found dead in the family’s home near Barron in northwestern Wisconsin. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department posted on its Facebook page Thursday evening that she had been found alive in Douglas County, Wisconsin, which borders Lake Superior.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department posted a note on its website saying Jayme was “located” in the Town of Gordon at 4:43 p.m. Thursday and a suspect was apprehended in the town about 10 minutes later. The note offered no other details. The department’s non-emergency line rang unanswered Thursday evening and Sheriff Thomas Dalbec didn’t immediately respond to an email.
The Town of Gordon lies about 65 miles north of Barron.
Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the teen was being treated at a hospital before being reunited with family.
A Wisconsin mayor says he’s overjoyed that a teenager missing since her parents were killed in October has been found alive
Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs went missing Oct. 15, when her parents were found dead in the family’s home near Barron in northwestern Wisconsin. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department posted on its Facebook page Thursday evening that Jayme had been found alive in Douglas County, Wisconsin, which borders Lake Superior.
Authorities are planning a news conference Friday morning. They say they have a suspect in custody but won’t give more details until then.
Barron Mayor Ron Fladten says he hasn’t heard any details about Closs’ discovery. He says knowing she’s been found is “unbelievable. It’s like taking a big black cloud in the sky and getting rid of it and the sun comes out again.”
The cousin of a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who was missing almost three months before being found safe Thursday is thanking law enforcement and the community for support.
Lacey Naiberg posted on Facebook after the Barron County sheriff reported that Jayme Closs had been found. Jayme went missing in October after her parents were killed at the family home in northern Wisconsin.
Naiberg wrote “there are no words to describe” the feeling of having so many people come together to help. She asks people to continue to pray for “Jayme’s well-being and our families healing.”
Authorities say a suspect is in custody, but say they won’t release any more information ahead of a news conference Friday.
Authorities in northwestern Wisconsin say a 13-year-old girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed has been found alive.
The Barron County Sheriff’s Department said on its Facebook page that Jayme Closs has been located Thursday and that a suspect was taken into custody.
Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says the sheriff’s office in Douglas County, about 70 miles north of Barron County, located the girl. A suspect was apprehended a short time later. The statement did not say where Jayme was found or give any further information about the suspect.
The sheriff’s office plans to hold a news conference Friday morning to discuss the case.
Jayme Closs has been missing since her parents were found dead Oct. 15 at the family’s home near Barron.