BARRON COUNTY, Wis. —Jayme Closs and her mother hid in the bathtub after a man dressed in black showed up at their home. A shot rang out as they huddled together.
The Wisconsin 13-year-old said she knew that her father, who had gone to the door, had just been killed. Her mother would be shot dead soon after.
The teenager told authorities about the terrifying 88 days in captivity that began the night the man prosecutors have identified as Jake Patterson barged into her home and killed her parents. The nightmare ended when she escaped last Thursday.
Barron County prosecutors on Monday released Jayme’s account in a complaint against Patterson, who made his first court appearance in Barron County to face charges of intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary. A judge set his bail at $5 million.
Patterson has confessed to killing Jayme’s parents, James and Denise Closs, in the home outside the city of Barron, and to kidnapping Jayme, according to the complaint.
Suspect ‘broke down the bathroom door’
Patterson first spotted Jayme while he was on his way to work one day. He was stopped behind a school bus and watched her board it, according to the complaint. He told authorities he had no idea who Jayme was, but said that “he knew that was the girl he was going to take.”
Patterson said he had driven to Jayme’s home twice “with the intent to kidnap” her before October 15, the complaint said.
On the night of October 15, Jayme woke up to the sound of her dog barking. She saw a car coming up the driveway, the complaint said.
She woke up her parents and her father went to investigate, the complaint said. Jayme said there was a man at the door with a gun, and she and her mother hid in the bathroom. Then she heard her father get shot.
As her mother called 911 from their hiding place, Jayme said Patterson “broke down the bathroom door and told her mother to hang up the phone,” according to the complaint.
Patterson told investigators Jayme’s mother had her arms wrapped around her daughter in a bear hug in the bathtub, the complaint said.
The teenager said Patterson, who wore a mask, “told her mother to put tape over (Jayme’s) mouth, which her mother did, and then Patterson shot her mother,” the complaint says.
Police later found James Closs’ body near the front door and Denise Closs’ body in the bathtub, the complaint says. Jayme said she thought they had both been shot once, the complaint said.
She said Patterson wrapped her hands and ankles together behind her back with black tape, dragged her to his vehicle, an older red four-door car, and put her in the trunk, the complaint said.
The complaint said that Jayme “stated she heard the sirens of two squad cars drive by a short time after Patterson began driving.”
‘Bad things would happen’
Jayme said it felt as if she was in Patterson’s trunk for about two hours before they arrived at the home where he kept her. Inside the home, located about 70 miles away in rural Gordon, she said he put her clothes in a bag and “made a comment about not having evidence,” according to the complaint.
Jayme said that Patterson would sometimes have friends over, the complaint said, and “made it clear that nobody was to know she was there or bad things would happen to her.”
“Patterson made (Jayme) hide under his bed in his bedroom,” the complaint said
“When he made her hide under his bed (Jayme) stated he stacked totes and laundry bins around the bed with weights (like weights for barbells) stacked against them, so she could not move them without his being able to detect it if she did,” the complaint said.
One time, Jayme “stated she accidentally moved one of the totes when she was told to hide under the bed and Patterson told her something bad would happen if she did it again,” according to the complaint.
Patterson would put on loud music to conceal that she was there if anyone else was in the home, according to the complaint.
The complaint said that Jayme “stated Patterson would make her stay under the bed for up to twelve hours at a time with no food, water or bathroom breaks.”
At one point, she said Patterson got mad and struck her “really hard” on her back with what she believed was a handle used to clean blinds.
‘I want to go home’
“There were at least two occasions when (Patterson) thought (Jayme) had tried to get out from under the bed 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,” the complaint said.
But last Thursday, she escaped. She managed to “push the bins and weights away from the bed and crawl out,” when Patterson said he would be gone for about five to six hours, the complaint said.
She put on a pair of Patterson’s shoes and walked out of the house, where she ran into a neighbor, Jeanne Nutter, who was walking her dog.
Nutter distinctly remembers a few things Jayme said, according to the complaint: “I’m Jayme Closs.” “I don’t know where I am.” “He killed my parents.”
“Please help — I want to go home.”