Jake Patterson decided to kidnap 13-year-old Jayme Closs after a chance encounter: He saw her get on a school bus outside her family home and decided that was the girl he was going to take, a criminal complaint accuses. Then, the complaint alleges, he kept her hidden under his bed in a Northwoods cabin.
The criminal complaint, issued on January 14, 2019, charges Jake Patterson with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a count of kidnapping, and a count of armed burglary.
It’s one of the most chilling crimes in recent times: The 12-page criminal complaint paints a horrific scene of the double murder of Jayme’s parents, Denise and James Closs, and, for the first time, it presents an alleged motive: Just because he wanted to. Patterson, 21, of Gordon, Wisconsin, appeared in court for the first time shortly after the complaint was released to the public. It also paints a graphic and disturbing scene of Denise Closs hiding away with her daughter in a bathtub as the killer stalked the house. She managed to call 911, and the police were so close to catching the assailant that, the complaint alleges, they passed his vehicle as he left the home.
Inside the trunk: Jayme.
You can read the complaint in full here:
Jake Patterson Complaint, J… by on Scribd
She would remain his kidnap victim until almost three months later, when she managed to push aside the totes and barbells he used to block her from getting out from under the bed, pulled on a pair of his too-big shoes so hastily they were on the wrong feet, and then escaped into the arms of a nearby dogwalker, the complaint alleges. For 88 days, the state and law enforcement had searched for Jayme, and an Amber Alert was issued.
After she was found, the “why” remained a mystery, with the Sheriff repeatedly stating that authorities couldn’t find any connection between Jake Patterson and Jayme, save for the fact he once worked for about a day three years ago at the Barron, Wisconsin turkey plant where the parents worked. But there was no evidence they ever met, and, the complaint alleges, no evidence they ever had contact on social media either. The complaint almost is reminiscent of the Netflix Show “You,” in some ways, which is a fictional plot in which a nerdy bookseller becomes fixated on a young woman he doesn’t know after a random and insignificant encounter, eventually murdering people close to her and then holding her captive in a basement room. In this case, though, in the real-life case of Jayme Closs, she orchestrated her own escape, and, in the words of law enforcement, became her own hero.
Here are the key details released in the criminal complaint. Be forewarned that many of them are graphic and disturbing. And, of course, everyone is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law, and allegations in a criminal complaint are just that: They are the details the state alleges it will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
The complaint alleges the following:
A Deputy Saw a Vehicle Near the Home & Found Denise Closs Dead in the Bathtub & James Closs Shot in the Door
According to the criminal complaint, at about 12:53 a.m. on October 15, 2018, a 911 call came into the Barron County Dispatch Center. The deputies responded to the residence, which was about three miles from the Dispatch Center, at about 1 a.m. While en route, the deputy “observed a vehicle that was maroon in color and what he believed to be an older style vehicle” – an older Ford Taurus or similar vehicle. It was traveling east on U.S. Highway 8 (where the Closs family home is located just outside Barron), just west of the City of Barron. It was the lone eastbound traveling vehicle he encountered. It yielded to himself and other deputies responding to the scene. He was unable to see a front license plate. He observed a black bracket in the front middle of the bumper and observed grey or silver trim on the vehicle.
At the Closs residence, the deputy shined a flashlight to the front door and noticed it was partially open due to a rug being stuck between the door and door frame. He saw legs on the floor.
James Closs was found lying on the floor with his feet near the front door of the family home. He was deceased and had “significant trauma to his face and head. There was blood and brain splattering on the west wall directly behind the wooden entrance door.”
He died of a gunshot wound to the head and was left with face trauma.
According to the complaint, no one came out of the residence when deputies arrived. They found a spent shotgun shell next to James’ body on the floor and another spent shotgun shell in the hallway in front of the bathroom.
A deputy entered the residence. “Partially in the bathroom and hallway…(the deputy) observed a shower curtain laying on the floor.” Deputies found Denise Closs, Jayme’s mother, “sitting unresponsive in the shower.”
She was also deceased with “significant head trauma,” also caused by a gunshot wound.
Deputies found no one else inside.
The autopsies confirmed that James’ cause of death was a shotgun wound to the head and neck, and Denise was killed with a shotgun wound to the head. Both died of homicide.
Deputies noticed that there were lights on in the main floor master bedroom and the main floor bathroom. James was lying on his back with his head partially under the kitchen table and chairs, lying in an east to west direction. James’ body was located in front of the wooden entry door and his legs obstructed the full opening of that door, the complaint says.
The detectives noticed that the decorative glass on the wooden entry door was “shattered out” and the deadbolt locking mechanism had been shot with a shotgun slug. The door “had been forcibly entered.”
In the bathroom, detectives noticed a vinyl shower curtain and curtain rod lying on the bathroom floor. The upper right hand cabinet drawer had been pulled out about six inches. It appeared to detectives that Denise “had attempted to barricade herself in the bathroom.”
It was apparent to detectives that the gunman had forcibly kicked or pushed or breached the door in some manner, which “had caused a rectangle style part of the door to break free form the door and fall into the open drawer.”
The bathroom door “itself then had been kicked or breached or forcibly manipulated” in such a manner where it had basically split in two in a horizontal manner prior to being forcibly opened. Detective Nelson observed a cell phone lying with the screen side down on the floor near the door jam and hinge side of the bathroom door, says the complaint.
Authorities recovered 12-gauge shotgun shells in the home. The tread patterns of tactical type boots were also found.
The detectives learned that James and Denise had a 13-year-old daughter and an Amber Alert was issued.
Jayme Told the Dog Walker That Patterson Had ‘Killed Her Parents & She Wants to Go Home’
Fast forward to January 10, 2019 at 4:11 p.m. Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Eau Claire Acres Circle, in the Town of Gordon, Douglas County (about an hour north of Jayme’s house), for a report that Jayme Closs was at the residence along S. Eau Claire Acres Circle and needed help.
Jeanne Nutter, the dog walker and a neighbor of Peter and Kristen Kasinskas, had gone to the neighbors’ home for help after running across Jayme, and Jayme had stated that a male subject, whom she identified as Jake Patterson, “had killed her parents and she wants to go home.”
The deputies reported that Jayme was wearing a pair of dirty, worn New Balance athletic shoes, that appeared to be men’s shoes, with the left shoe on her right foot and the right shoe on her left foot.
The decision was made to immediately remove her from the area for her safety, and a deputy drove her away in her squad car.
At that point, the deputy was traveling along the western side of the loop of Eau Claire Acres Circle and noticed a vehicle that was red in color approaching the deputy with whom Jayme was in the car. The deputy asked Jayme if that was Patterson’s car and Jayme said she didn’t know but thought his car was a Ford and that he also had other cars. The deputy told two other officers that she had just passed a red car and they ran the plate. The car was registered to a Katie Patterson (Jake’s sister), the complaint alleges.
The sergeant watched the car pass and saw it had a lone male occupant in it. The sergeant conducted a traffic stop just as it passed the driveway. Two officers approached and the occupant was instructed to raise his hands in the air and open his door. Asked his name, Patterson allegedly stepped out of the car and stated I know what this is about and “I did it.”
Nutter, the dog walker, told authorities she went for a walk around 3:30 p.m. for about 40 minutes and then saw a young girl in the road. She “yelled and begged for help.”
She remembered the girl saying, “I’m Jayme Closs. I don’t know where I am. He killed my parents. Please help – I want to go home.”
Jeanne went to the Kasinskas residence because she recognized Patterson’s name from a mailbox and knew his cabin was only two driveways west from her place. She described Jayme as “being in shock, tired, with matted hair and messy clothes.” She could barely walk in the too-large shoes.
Jayme Described Hiding in the Bathtub With Her Mom
On January 11, 2019, a child/adolescent forensic interviewer with the FBI interviewed Jayme. The interview was audio and video recorded.
Jayme said she was asleep in her bedroom when her dog started barking early in the morning. She got up to investigate why her dog was barking and noticed there was someone driving up their driveway. She went to her parents’ room and woke them up. Jayme stated her parents got up and her father went to the door to see what was going on. She stated there was a man (later identified as Patterson) at the door with a gun, so she and her mother hid in the bathroom with the door closed, according to the complaint. They hid in the bathtub.
She heard a gunshot and knew her father had just been killed. Her mother had her cell phone with her and used the phone to call 911. Jayme said Patterson broke down the bathroom door and told her mother to hang up the phone. Jayme stated Patterson told her mother to put tape over Jayme’s mouth which her mother did and then Patterson shot her mother. She stated both her mother and father were shot, the complaint alleges.
She said Patterson taped her hands and ankles together and dragged her out to his car. The tape was black in color and he taped her hands behind her back. He placed her in the trunk. It was an older red 4-door car. He drove away. She heard the sirens of two squad cars drive by, the complaint alleges.
The complaint continues to allege:
Jayme said she thought she was in the trunk of the car for about two hours before they arrived at the house where Patterson took her to. He later told her it was his house. He took her to a hallway and made her sit down and stay there. He then removed the tape from her mouth, hands and ankles and told her to go into his bedroom and take off all of her clothes, which he put in a bag. He said a comment about not having evidence. He was going to throw her clothes away but she didn’t see what he actually did with them.
She said that sometimes Patterson would have friends and/or relatives over. Patterson made it clear that nobody was to know she was there or bad things would happen to her. He made her hide under his bed in his bedroom. He stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights stacked against them so she could not move them. One time, Patterson told her something bad would happen if she did it again after she moved a tote. He would turn music on in his room so she couldn’t hear what was happening if anyone else was in the house with him, the complaint accuses.
He would also make her stay under the bed when he left the house, sometimes for 12 hours at a time, with no food, water or bathroom breaks, according to the complaint.
One time, he “got mad at her and hit her really hard on her back with what she described as a handle for something used to clean blinds,” says the complaint.
She didn’t remember what she did to make him mad but remembers Patterson telling her that if it happened again the punishment would be worse next time.
On January 10, 2019, he said he was going to be gone for five or six hours and made her go under the bed. This time, Jayme was able to push the bins and weights away and crawl out. She put on a pair of his shoes and walked out of the house.
Patterson Describes Seeing Jayme Getting on a School Bus, the Complaint Alleges
According to the complaint, Patterson was interviewed and confessed to killing James and Denise Closs. He said that he worked at Saputo Cheese Factory, south of Almena, for two days before quitting.
“On his drive to the cheese factory on one of the two mornings he worked there, he had stopped behind a school bus on U.S. Hwy. 8 where he watched (Jayme Closs) get on a school bus. 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.”
“When he saw (Jayme) he knew that was the girl he was going to take.”
On what he thought to be his second and last day of employment, he purchased a black colored balaclava type mask from Walmart in Rice Lake. This was part of his plan to conceal his identity, says the complaint.
The complaint further accuses:
He drove to the Closs home twice with the intent to kidnap Jayme prior to October 15, 2018.
Several days before quitting the cheese factory, and about a week to 1 1/2 weeks before he went through with the plan, he drove to the Closs home and noticed the lights were on and people were walking around so he decided not to do it then.
He said he “put quite a bit of thought” into how he would abduct Jayme.
On one of the nights, prior to his third trip to the Closs home, he stole the license plates off a vehicle parked in a yard.
Prior to arriving at the Closs home, he stopped on a side road somewhere east of Barron and removed the front and rear license plate from his car and made other modifications – he removed and disconnected the dome light in the vehicle so it wouldn’t illuminate his presence and removed the trunk light and what he described “as the glow in the dark kidnapping cord from the trunk” so that “no one could pull the trunk release once inside.”
He took his father’s 12-gauge Mossberg pump shotgun which he described as having a black stock. He had done research and assumed it would be difficult to trace because it was one of the most heavily manufactured or owned shotguns.
He felt that a 12-gauge slug “would inflict the most damage on someone and would most likely be the best choice of shell and weapon to kill someone versus a rifle.”
He wiped down the shells while wearing gloves and cleaned and wiped down the shotgun while wearing gloves so there would be no fingerprints or DNA on either of them. He wanted to make sure there were no fingerprints or DNA on the shotgun, the complaint says.
He shaved his face and all his head hair off and showered before leaving his house so “that he would not leave any DNA or hair at the scene.”
He was wearing brown colored steel toed work boots and regular blue jeans and had on a black colored jacket and a black colored balaclava mask on. He was wearing two pair of gloves on his hands.
He shut off his headlights and coasted into the end of the driveway. He noticed James standing in the large picture window. James had a flashlight and was shining it outside. He hollered for James to get on the ground.
He pounded on the wooden door.
He saw James looking outside through the small glass window. James made some comment like show me your badge and he assumed James thought he was the police. He raised the shotgun and purposely aimed at James’ head and pulled the trigger. James collapsed to the ground.
He used his shoulder and tried to break the door open but was unable to do so. He shot a second round toward the doorknob.
He knew James was dead and stepped over his body. He brought a kitchen type knife and flashlight.
Jake Patterson Described Finding Denise & Jayme in the Bathroom, According to the Complaint
The complaint continues to describe what Patterson allegedly told police.
He noticed the door straight ahead was shut. The door was locked and barricaded and he kicked it and shouldered it several times trying to forcibly break it open. It took him 10-15 hits with his shoulder blade before it burst open and he entered the bathroom. The bathroom curtain was shut and he ripped it off the rod and threw it on the floor. Denise and Jayme were seated in the bathtub, Denise with her arms wrapped around Jayme in a bear hug.
He pulled a piece of duct tape and handed it to Denise and told her to place the tape over Jayme’s mouth. She was struggling to do that. He took the tape and wrapped it around Jayme’s mouth and completely around her head. He then had Jayme stand up and placed tape around her wrists and ankles.
He removed Jayme from the bathtub. He picked up the shotgun, aimed for Denise’s head and pulled the trigger. “The defendant stated he aimed for Denise’s head because he knew that head shots were the best way to kill a person,” alleges the complaint.
He had the shotgun in one hand and dragged Jayme out of the house. He nearly slipped in the blood on the floor. He dragged Jayme into his trunk, locked it shut, and removed the mask and started to drive towards Barron. He had only driven 20 seconds from the house when he yielded to three passing squad cars traveling west towards the house.
He was “determined he was going to take Jayme that night and was going to kill anyone in the house because he could not leave any eyewitnesses behind.”
He said he would have shot at the police if they had stopped him. He was only in the Closs home for about four minutes total. When, he got to his house in Gordon, he knew that Jayme was extremely scared, and she was crying. She had urinated on herself and her clothing was wet.
He made her change into his sister’s pajamas. He threw her clothing and his gloves into a wood fireplace.
He kept Jayme at his house by creating a space under his twin bed, which is 2 and a half feet off the ground.
When he left, he would slide the plastic totes up against the side of the bed so Jayme couldn’t come out. There were two occasions when he thought she tried to get out from under the bed, at least, and he had struck a wall and screamed a lot to the point where he knew she was scared and she knew that she better never try that again.
She knew that she was not to leave the bedroom without him. Because of his “anger outburst,” she did as told.
At Christmas, he went to Superior to visit one of his grandparents and was gone for 12 hours. He told Jayme that she had to hold it if she had to go to the bathroom, the complaint continues to allege.
When his father came to the house on Saturdays, he would make Jayme go under the bed and turn up the radio in his room.
He initially kept a loaded shotgun near a door outside his room in case the police came. After two weeks, he removed the shells and put them in a drawer.
He drew a diagram of the Closs home.
The day he was arrested, he told Jayme he was leaving for a few hours. When he got home, he discovered Jayme was not under the bed and then saw footprints outside. He returned to his house and was met by the police and “stated it was at that point that he knew he was caught.”
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 said he had never met Jayme through any social media sites and only learned her name after the abduction and when he got back to his house. He learned the names of the two people he shot and killed after seeing their names on multiple news programs and social media. The defendant stated “he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly.”
A search warrant was executed, and shotgun shells, boots, a jacket, mask, and license plate were recovered. Again, the above are the allegations in the complaint and have not been proven in a court of law.