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Wisconsin man gets life in prison in Jayme Closs case

FILE – In this March 27, 2019, file photo, Jake Patterson appears for a hearing at the Barron County Justice Center in Barron, Wis. Patterson could spend the rest of his life behind bars for the abduction of a 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the killing of her parents after his sentencing hearing Friday, May 24. Patterson pleaded guilty in March to two counts of deliberate homicide and one count of kidnapping. He admitted to the kidnapping of Jayme after the deaths of her parents, James and Denise Closs, in October. (T’xer Zhon Kha/The Post-Crescent via AP, Pool)

BARRON, Wis. – A Wisconsin man was Friday sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping of a 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the killing of her parents in a case that has baffled authorities for months until the girl made a daring escape from the remote cabin where she was held for 88 days.

Jake Patterson, 21, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of deliberate homicide and one count of kidnapping. He admitted to the kidnapping of Jayme in October after the deaths of her parents, James and Denise Closs, in the house of the family in the near Barron, about 90 miles (145 km) in the north-east of Minneapolis. Jayme escaped in January of Patterson’s hut, near the small and isolated town of Gordon, about 60 miles (97 km) of her house.

In a statement read in court, Jayme Patterson said “he thought he could get me own, but he is wrong. I was smarter.” She said that she wanted to see Patterson “locked up forever.”

She did not appear in court, and her guardian, read the statement.

Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for release on each murder count and 25 years in prison on the kidnapping count. The sentences to be served consecutively. That were the maximum sentences that the judge can impose. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Patterson told authorities he decided to Jayme “was the girl that he was going to take”, after he saw her on a school bus near her home, according to a criminal complaint. He told investigators he put the caution, including the wearing of black clothing, putting stolen license plates on his car and the care as to not leave fingerprints on his gun.

Jayme told the police that on the night of her abduction, the family dog barking woke her, and she went to wake up with her parents when a car came in the driveway. While her father went to the front door, Jayme and her mother hid in the bathroom, in the bath, the shower curtain pulled closed.

Patterson shot Jayme’s father, as he entered the house, found Jayme and her mother. He told detectives he wrapped tape around Jayme’s mouth and head, taped her hands behind her back and taped her ankles together, then shot her mother in the head. He told the police that he dragged Jayme out and threw her in the trunk of his car, the complaint said.

In his cabin, Patterson forced Jayme to hide under a bed if he had friends, and wrote to her in tote boxes and weights, with the warning that if they moved, “bad things can happen with her,” according to the complaint. He also turned the radio, so that visitors could not hear her.

The prosecutors in the county where Jayme was held decided not to bring charges with regard to everything that might have happened in the cabin, a move that was widely seen as aimed at saving Jayme more pain and keep data private.

Authorities searched for Jayme for months and collected more than 3,500 tips. Jayme escaped on Jan. 10 while Patterson was away and flag down a woman walking a dog. Patterson was arrested minutes later.

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Richmond reported from Madison.

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Check out AP’s complete coverage of Jayme Closs’ abduction and her parents to kill.

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