Sheriff: Jayme Closs was 21-year-old suspect's only target

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Authorities said Friday they have arrested 21-year-old Jake Patterson of Gordon, Wisconsin for the abduction of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murders of her parents. 

Jayme was found at 4:43 p.m. Thursday near a housing development called Eau Claire Acres just outside the town of Gordon, Wisconsin after the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a citizen. A woman walking her dog told dispatchers she was approached by a young woman who said she was Jayme Closs. The woman took Jayme to a neighbor’s house and they called 911. 

A short time later, deputies found a vehicle that matched the description Jayme had provided. The vehicle was pulled over and Patterson was taken into custody. 

Jayme had been missing since Oct. 15 when her parents, James and Denise, were found shot to death in their Barron, Wisconsin home. 

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said Friday they believe Jayme was Patterson's target and that he had no contact with her parents prior to the murders. He confirmed Jayme was in the home when her parents were killed. 

“I can tell you that the suspect planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald noted that Patterson shaved his head, minimizing his forensic footprint. Patterson is being held in the Barron County Jail on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the murders of Denise and James Closs and one count of kidnapping. Fitzgerald said Patterson has no criminal history that investigators could find.


Neighbors reported hearing  two high-powered gun shots at the Closs family home around 12:30 a.m., but they did not call 911. 

At 12:56 a.m., the Barron County sheriff’s dispatch received a 911 call from Denise’s cell phone inside the Closs family home.  According to the 911 call log, the dispatcher noted they “could hear a lot of yelling.” Deputies tracked the phone to the Closs home. 

When officials arrived, they found James Closs near the door. He appeared to have answered the door, which was kicked in. Officers found multiple spent rounds. About five minutes later, police found Denise Closs. Fitzgerald said both James and Denise Closs were fatally shot.

The 911 audio helped investigators determine that Jayme was in the house at the time of her parents’ murders. She was listed as a missing child at 3:57 a.m.