Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old girl from Barron, Wisconsin, was the subject of an Amber Alert that was issued after her parents were found dead at the family’s home in what authorities described as a confusing and mysterious violent scene. However, almost three months later, Jayme staged a daring escape, and authorities accused a 21-year-old man, Jake Patterson, of targeting her randomly and abducting her. They allege that he hid her under a bed in his family’s remote cabin an hour north.
The Barron County Sheriff identified the deceased parents as James Closs, 56 and Denise Closs, 46. “They are husband and wife and the mother and father of Jayme, the missing 13 year old,” Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said in a statement. Both parents worked at the local turkey plant, Jennie-O. The sheriff says they were shot to death and were the victims of homicide. Authorities believe Jayme was in the home at the time.
In a chilling 12-page criminal complaint released on January 14, 2019, authorities gave every indication that Jake Patterson allegedly acted alone. They accuse him of kidnapping Jayme after randomly seeing her getting on a school bus outside her family’s Barron home. He didn’t know her name or the names of her parents then but, the complaint alleges, “When he saw (Jayme) he knew that was the girl he was going to take.” (You can read the criminal complaint in full and get more details from it here.)
CNN later obtained dispatch logs that revealed these additional details: The 911 call was made with the phone of Denise Closs, and the dispatcher could “hear a lot of yelling”; the front door of the home was kicked in; James Closs had answered the door; multiple rounds were “spent”; no gun was found at the scene; and the family’s dog was alive inside the residence when deputies responded.
If you drive past the home in Barron, you can see that the front door to the family’s residence is now missing. A police and volunteer search of the ditches along the highway from Barron to Turtle Lake, Wis., didn’t turn up anything of value to the investigation.
Authorities released updated pictures of Jayme Closs:
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jayme Closs Wrote That She Loved to Dance & Play Sports
Diane Tremblay, the administrator of the Barron Area School District, said in a news conference that Jayme Closs is a “sweet girl who is a loyal friend and loves to dance” and is a member of the cross country team.
She recalled how a school assignments asked Jayme what she would do with $1 million and Jayme answered that she would “feed the hungry and give the rest to the poor.”
“I love to dance at Christine’s Dance Jazz, ice-skating, valleyball (sic), swim, Art, cross country, Track, Dance,” Jayme wrote on her Facebook page, which she filled with photos of herself with a middle school sports team and in dance outfits.
Relative Seara Closs wrote on Facebook:
It looks like we had a signature pose when we took pictures together Miss Jayme Closs:) I didn’t even realize we did that, until this very moment, while I’m going thru our family pictures, worrying sick about you:( wishing we could trade places just to get you home and out of harms way:( I think it’s clear that I loved scooping you up in my arms from the beginning. (Where grandpa didn’t know he got caught staring at you) our picture technique together was a perfect Balance, of your wonderful shyness and my obnoxious boldness…. ? I’ll be waiting for our next scooped picture my love!!!!! Don’t forget you have some seriously bad ass guardian angels with you now and always baby girl! Grandpa Jim (James) Closs, your Momma Bear, Denise Closs and your very own night and shinning armor, your Daddyo Jim JR Closs….love all of you!!!take care of her guys, until we get her home and safe, then we can take over from our end!!!!
She also shared a series of family photos.
According to the Amber Alert website, on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 12:53 a.m., a 911 call was received from Barron, Wisconsin. Barron is a community of about 3,300 people that is located in rural northwestern Wisconsin. Authorities found the girl’s parents dead, but Jayme was missing.
Authorities have yet to reveal a motive or any details about possible suspects. The FBI has been called in to help.
“We don’t have a suspect or a vehicle,” the sheriff said, explaining a delay in issuing an Amber Alert.
He said that the FBI had arrived on the scene along with the state Department of Criminal Investigation. “We have got to find some leads,” he said.
The sheriff said authorities don’t know who placed the 911 call because no one had contact with the 911 dispatchers. “We don’t know the answer to that,” he said, indicating that dispatchers “heard background noise. We are processing that.”
2. Jayme Closs Is Considered ‘Endangered’ & Deputies Are Frustrated by the Lack of Leads
Authorities are concerned about Jayme Closs’s safety. They searched the area around the family home with drones and infrared technology to try to find Jayme to no avail.
According to Sheriff Fitzgerald, speaking in the news conference, “We’ve searched the area around the residence to make sure she didn’t just go outside and go to the woods. We’ve used drones. We’ve used infrared. We’ve searched…the area around there. We’ve searched the school. We’ve met with the friends. We’re working very closely with the… middle school where she attends school. We have officers there today.”
He said authorities have also asked for the general community’s help in case they’ve seen Jayme.
In a press conference on October 16, 2018, Fitzgerald did not provide many additional details. He said authorities were researching the Miami sighting. He asked the public to continue providing tips, and to report anyone changing their behavior, such as changes to appearance or suddenly going out of town.
“Every second counts in this case,” said the sheriff. He declined to detail what authorities think happened in the house, saying only that there was a “disturbance” inside it. He repeated that “Jayme is missing and endangered.” Asked if it was possible she ran away, he said, “That would be part of the investigation.” He said police “redid” the crime scene with the state crime lab to make sure they didn’t miss anything. He declined to release the parents’ cause of death, saying autopsies were being conducted.
“We want to bring Jayme home. That’s the main point,” Fitzgerald stressed.
They received a 911 call from the home, which led to the bodies’ discovery, but they don’t know who made that call, Fitzgerald revealed. He said it was made with a cell phone. Asked by a reporter if the word “help” could be heard on the 911 call, the sheriff responded, “I don’t know if the word help was said. I can’t comment on that.”
“Our deputies on scene. This is a tough scene. And they’re frustrated,” said Sheriff Fitzgerald on October 15. “…It’s just a different scene for us. We don’t have a suspect. We don’t have any leads right now. We’re working very diligently right now to get those leads. We’re working with other agencies.” He encouraged the public to share Jayme’s photo.
“Upon arrival law enforcement found 2 adults deceased, and their 13 year old daughter, Jayme Closs, missing, and is considered endangered,” the Amber Alert says. “Anyone with information about her whereabouts or anyone that has contact with her is asked to contact the tipline at 1-855-744-3879. For up-to-date information, visit amberalertwisconsin.org.” Here is the Amber Alert details on that website.
No clothing description for Closs was provided. No suspect vehicle description was provided, either. According to WBAY-TV and the Associated Press, it’s believed Jayme Closs was taken from her home by “unknown individual(s), likely with a gun.” However, in the news conference, the sheriff stopped short of saying Jayme was abducted, while also not ruling it out.
3. Jayme Is Not Considered a Suspect, the Sheriff Says & Her Parents Worked at the Local Turkey Company
A missing poster circulating for Jayme says she is not considered a suspect and that authorities found a “violent crime scene.”
“Right now, she’s missing and endangered,” Sheriff Fitzgerald said. “She’s not listed as a suspect. And as of now, we are just focused on finding a 13-year-old scared girl.”
The sheriff said he didn’t believe the public was in immediate danger “that we know of.”
“We have a lot of unknowns in this case. That’s the frustrating part in the law enforcement world, the unknowns we’re hitting in this case. So, to say the public is not in danger, I cannot say that.” But he said authorities didn’t know of any other threats in the area.
On Facebook, Denise Closs filled her page with pictures of her daughter, mother, and other family members.
The Jennie-O turkey company where both parents worked is a major employer in the small community of Barron.
Sheriff Fitzgerald reiterated in the news conference that he wasn’t clear what happened yet: “That is the confusing part of this case. We don’t have any leads at this time on what really took place at that house. I can tell you there were two victims at the residence. Gunshots were involved. I am not ready to rule how they died at this time. The deceased are the mother and father of Jayme.” He later revealed they were shot to death.
4. Authorities Say Finding Jayme Closs Safe Is Their Only Goal Right Now
Fitzgerald says authorities are focused on one thing: Finding Jayme Closs.
“At the end of the end of the day, I want a 13-year-old here safe and sound. That’s our goal. That’s our only goal right now,” Fitzgerald said at the news conference.
Fitzgerald’s press release for October 15, 2018 doesn’t reveal much more than the Amber Alerts. It says in full:
“On Monday October 15, 2018 at 12:58am the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from a subject asking for help at 1268 Hwy 8.
When deputies arrived on scene they found two deceased adults. A 13 year old female is missing from the residence and is considered missing and endangered.
The juvenile is Jayme Closs, age 13, 5 feet tall, 100 pounds, green eyes and Blond or Strawberry hair. Anyone with information about her possible whereabouts or anyone that has contact with Jayme is asked to contact the Barron County Sheriff’s Department at 715-537-3106 immediately.
This is all the information we have at this time and more information will be released later this afternoon or as needed by law enforcement to assist with this case.”
On the evening of October 15, 2018, the Miami Police Department tweeted that Jayme might have been seen in Miami, Florida, writing, “Endangered Juvenile, Jayne Closs from Barron, WI, may have been seen in the afternoon of 10/15/18, in the area of N.W. 27 Ave and 11 St. If it was her, she was in a black Ford Explorer with a possible WI plate of I60WER. If you have any information please call 911 immediately.” Although the Miami tweet refers to the missing girl as Jayne, her name is Jayme. It’s not clear how seriously Wisconsin authorities are taking the report or how Jayme could have made it so far so fast (Barron is located about 25 hours from Miami).
However, later Tuesday, Wisconsin authorities said they do not consider the Miami report to be credible.
Local10 Miami gave additional details on the report: “Jayme Closs might have been seen at a gas station along Northwest 27th Avenue and Northwest 11th Street. The person who reported it said she was with two men in their 30s who were about 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9, weighing about 200 to 250 pounds and had beards. That same witness told police the black Ford Explorer they were in had a Wisconsin license plate tag of I60 WER.”
According to KARE 11, “The tipster reportedly told police two well-dressed, Middle Eastern men were inside the SUV. Officers say the tipster said the men were in their 30s, roughly 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9 and 200 to 250 pounds. They both reportedly had beards.”
5. Jayme Was Described as Sweet & Shy
A relative wrote a frantic post on Facebook about Jayme Closs.” Please ?please ?please ? help! This is my 13-year-old cousin, her parents were shot to death this morning in Barron County Wisconsin and she is missing. She has blonde hair green eyes. Her name is Jayme, she is sweet and shy and we need to get her back!” she wrote.
The Amber Alert websites also provide the following information about Jayme Closs:
Oct 15, 2018
This article is being updated as more information is learned about the disappearance of Jayme Closs.