A 21-year-old Wisconsin man has been charged in the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murders of her parents, a day after she turned up safe after a three-month disappearance.
Jake Thomas Patterson was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping related to the fatal shootings of James and Denise Closs in October.
Patterson allegedly abducted Jayme, who was reported missing on October 15 after her parents turned up dead at their home.
“Jayme was taken against her will and escaped from a residence in which she was being held,” said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald at a press conference announcing the charges against Patterson. “The subject planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public.”
Mr Fitzgerald says Closs managed to escape from a cabin on Thursday and approached a woman who was walking her dog. That woman alerted a nearby neighbour, who called 911.
Mr Fitzgerald says Jayme was medically cleared, is out of the hospital and is being interviewed by law enforcement.
The sheriff previously said his office was receiving about 25 tips per day regarding Jayme’s disappearance. He’d been confident that Jayme was alive somewhere.
“I have a gut feeling she’s still alive,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of guy.”
The girl’s disappearance rocked Barron, a tiny city of 3,400, with as many as 2,000 volunteers launching a search the week after the slayings.
This article originally appeared in the New York Postand has been reproduced here with permission.