true crime

Jayme Closs was kidnapped for 88 days. One year after escaping, this is her life now.

On January 10, 2019, a 13-year-old girl with matted hair walked the below-freezing streets of Wisconsin as she approached a woman walking her dog.

Her name was Jayme Closs, the teenager explained, and she had just escaped the room she had been held captive in for the past three months.

Jayme was wearing shoes that were several sizes too large – they belonged to her abductor, 21-year-old Jake Patterson.

For 88 days, Closs had been trapped in his cabin.

Jayme Closs statement
Jayme Closs was 13-years-old when she was kidnapped. Image: Barron County Sheriff's Department.

Three months prior to her escape, on the night of October 15 2018, Jayme witnessed her parents, Denise and James Closs, be murdered by Patterson in their family home, before he threw her in the boot of his car, and took her to his cabin.

Now, one year on from her escape, the 14-year-old is rebuilding her life, surrounded by friends and family.

In May, 2019, Jake Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

New records detail what happened.

In December 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Justice released records relating to the Jayme Closs case, detailing in thousands of pages the crimes committed by Patterson and the investigations conducted by the department.

The documents state that Patterson decided to abduct Jayme after seeing her on a school bus and developing an infatuation for her.

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On the night of the murders, body camera audio from the Barron County Sheriff's deputies captured the detectives entering the crime scene as they responded to the 911 call made by Jayme's mother.

"We had one car that was heading out as we were coming," one responder said.

"Well, we'll have him on camera. We're missing a suspect," responded another.

It was later revealed that the car seen by responders was Patterson, with Jayme in the trunk. He had left the scene about 20 seconds prior to their arrival, after using his father's shotgun to kill Denise and James Closs parents.

Jayme Closs
Jake Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Image: Barron County Sheriff's Department.

During Jayme's time in the cabin, Patterson would sometimes have visitors. When this happened, the murderer would pen her in with tote boxes and weights, warning that if she moved, "bad things could happen to her". He also turned up the radio so guests couldn't hear her.

Patterson even held a Christmas gathering at his cabin, and his relatives had no idea she was there.

It had been a terrifying and traumatic time for Closs, to say the least.

Jayme Closs' life now.

At the time of Patterson's sentencing, Jayme said in a statement: "Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad...

"I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep. I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to dance. He took all of those things away from me too.

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"It’s too hard for me to go out in public. I get scared and I get anxious. These are just ordinary things that anyone like me should be able to do but I can’t because he took them away from me.

In October 2019, the teenager told ABC News (in America) that she was rebuilding her life.

jayme closs case
Jayme Closs with her Aunty after her rescue. Image: Facebook.

"I am very happy to be home and getting back to the activities that I enjoy. I love hanging out with all of my friends, and I feel stronger every day!”

Jayme's Aunt, Jennifer Smith, and attorney Chris Gramstrup also said in a statement:  "Jayme continues to work very hard on her emotional well-being.

"She is moving forward and courageously reclaiming her life."

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald also spoke with Fox 9 News last week emphasising the hope the detective always maintained in their search for Jayme.

As for now, Fitzgerald said: "She's doing great, as well as should be expected and can be expected, and she's just involved in school and she's doing what every 14-year-old kid should be doing, and that's just being a kid."

Feature Image: Barron County Sheriff's Department/CBS News.


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