Wisconsin man who kidnapped Jayme Closs gets life in prison

Jake Patterson was in the court for his conviction in the murder of James and Denise Closs at the Barron County Justice Center in Barron, Wis., on Friday 24 May 2019. Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright told a judge during Jake Patterson sentencing hearing Friday that Patterson would never stop trying to find and possibly kill Jayme Closs if he is out of prison.(Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune 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 after the girl told the court that she wanted him “locked up forever” for trying to steal her.

Jake Patterson, 21, pleaded guilty in March to two counts of deliberate homicide and one count of kidnapping. He admitted that he broke into Jayme’s home in October, shot her parents, James and Denise Closs with her, and kept her under a bed in his secluded cabin for 88 days before they make a daring escape.

Jayme does not appear on Patterson sentencing hearing Friday, but a family lawyer reading of her first public statements about her ordeal to Judge James Babler.

“He thought he could get me own but he was wrong. I was smarter, ” the statement said. “I was brave, and he was not. … He thought that he could make me like him, but he was wrong. … For 88 days that he was trying to steal me and he does not care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should be locked up forever.”

The judge called Patterson the “embodiment of evil” before sentencing him to consecutive life sentences without the possibility of release on the murder charges. He ordered Patterson to serve 25 years in prison and 15 years extended supervision on the kidnapping count.

“There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet,” Babler said.

Patterson sat shaking his head during most of the hearing. Offered a chance to speak, he said that he would do anything to take back what he did.

“I would die,” he said. “I would do absolutely anything … to bring back. I don’t care about me. I’m just as bad. That is all.”

The judge read statements that Patterson wrote in the prison, in which he said that he had succumbed to fantasies about the love of a young girl and torturing and controlling her. He was looking for a chance to kidnap someone, even to decide and he can have multiple girls and killing several families, according to the statements. Jayme was the first girl he saw after these thoughts in his mind, he said.

Patterson’s lawyers, Richard Jones, and Charles Glynn, told the judge that Patterson was isolated and that he overreacted loneliness. She asked for leniency for Patterson, noting that he had pleaded guilty to save Jayme and her family from a trial.

According to a criminal complaint, Patterson was driving to work in October, when he spotted Jayme get on a school bus near her rural home outside of Barron, about 90 miles (145 km) in the north-east of Minneapolis. He then decided that “she was the girl that he was going to take.”

District Attorney Brian Wright told the court that Patterson traveled to the Closs house on two different occasions to kidnap her, but returned because of the activity in her house.

He eventually drove to the house in the early morning hours of Oct. 15 dressed in black and with his father’s shotgun. He shot James Closs through a window in the front door, blasted the lock and moved inside.

He found the bathroom door locked. He broke the door down and discovered Jayme and her mother clinging to each other in the bath. He tied Jayme with tape, then shot Denise Closs in the head as she sat next to her daughter.

He dragged Jayme by her father in the blood, and to his car. He throws her in the trunk and drove her to his cabin in Gordon in Douglas County, approximately 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Barron.

He held her trapped under a bed with storage boxes filled with weights and hit her with a curtain rod, Wright said.

“He kept her in constant fear, threatening her, telling her things would get worse,” Wright said.

Jayme finally escaped on Jan. 10 while Patterson was gone. They flagged down a neighbor, who found someone to call the police. Patterson was arrested minutes later as he returned to the hut.

Patterson was also ordered to register as a sex offender, which under Wisconsin law required both for an actual sex offense or an attempted sexual offence. Details of Jayme time in captivity are not released, and no charges were brought by prosecutors in the province where she was held.


Richmond reported from Madison.


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


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