Authorities on Friday identified the suspect in the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jayme Closs as Jake Thomas Patterson. Patterson is also suspected of killing Jayme’s parents in their Wisconsin home in October.
Here’s what we know about him:
He shaved his head so he wouldn’t leave hair at the crime scene
Patterson is a 21-year-old from Gordon, Wisconsin, about 70 miles north of Barron, not far from where Jayme had lived with her parents, James and Denise, who were found shot dead the same day Jayme went missing in October.
He’s currently being held in the Barron County Jail on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told reporters.
Patterson was taken into custody on Thursday after Jayme — who managed to escape from Patterson’s home while he was out — gave investigators a description of his vehicle, according to Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec. A short time later, a patrol officer saw a vehicle that matched that description and pulled it over.
Patterson was subsequently arrested, just down the road from his remote residence outside of Gordon, Dalbec said.
Dalbec initially said authorities did not believe Patterson was looking for her when he was pulled over and arrested, but Fitzgerald later said authorities believe Patterson was.
Patterson “planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public,” Fitzgerald said. Those steps included shaving his head so he wouldn’t leave hair behind at the scene of the murders and Jayme’s kidnapping.
Jayme was his target
Authorities have not explained why Patterson would have kidnapped Jayme, but they said she was his intended target the night he allegedly broke into the Closs home and killed her parents.
Patterson did work at the same Jennie-O Turkey Store facility in Barron that Jayme’s parents. But he only worked there for one day, according to the company’s president, before quitting, saying he was moving away.
Fitzgerald confirmed this, but said Patterson did not have any contact with James or Denise Closs.
Patterson is presently unemployed, Fitzgerald said.
After his arrest, authorities recovered a gun that is “consistent with the gun used at the scene” of the killings, but they’re waiting on confirmation from the Wisconsin State Crime Lab to confirm it was the same weapon used. The suspect that night used a shotgun to shoot open the door to the Closs home, Fitzgerald said.
Patterson had “zero” criminal history locally or in Wisconsin, Fitzgerald said. Authorities are not looking for any additional suspects.