The man arrested in the Jayme Closs case was identified Friday as Jake Thomas Patterson by authorities and neighbors who lived in the same Eau Claire Acres enclave in the Douglas County Town of Gordon.
Jayme was found by a neighbor walking her dog late Thursday afternoon. Patterson, 21, of Gordon, was arrested a short time later after law enforcement swarmed the enclave of about 20 small homes.
Gordon is about 40 miles south of Lake Superior and about 65 miles north of Barron, Closs’ hometown and where her parents were killed in October.
Patterson was arrested without incident by a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy who spotted a car described by Jayme a short time after she was rescued, Douglas County Sheriff Thomas Dalbec said at a morning news conference.
“He was just down the road from the residence” when he was arrested, Dalbec said.
Jayme vanished early Oct. 15 when Barron County sheriff’s deputies, responding to a 911 call, found the door to her family’s home near Barron kicked in. Her parents, James, 56, and Denise, 46, were shot to death.
Patterson is in custody in Barron County, authorities said at a morning news conference. He is being held pending charges of first degree murder and kidnapping. Charges are not expected to be filed until next week, said Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright.
“Jake Patterson had zero criminal history locally and zero criminal history in the state of Wisconsin,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at the news conference.
Fitzgerald said authorities weren’t certain how long Patterson was at the town of Gordon home with Closs. He said there was no indication that Patterson was employed.
Jayme was the target of the crime, which Patterson planned ahead of time, Fitzgerald said.
The sheriff said it was not yet known whether Patterson knew Closs in advance of the murders of her parents and subsequent kidnapping. Detectives are continuing to look into that aspect of the case, Fitzgerald said. Authorities said no other suspects were being sought.
Patterson took steps to conceal his identity when he was arrested, Fitzgerald said.
“He concealed his identity from us and he also concealed her from others and his friends,” he said.
The neighborhood where Jayme was found remained blocked off by police Friday morning.
Neighbor Daphne Ronning said Patterson’s parents moved to the home about 15 years ago and that Jake and his brother were raised there and attended high school at Northwood School in Minong.
The parents moved to another home once the boys became older, but Patterson and his brother continued to use the town of Gordon home,
“We had some problems with them when they were teenagers – we caught them siphoning gas,” Ronning said. “My husband talked with them and there was never anything else.”
Ronning said she wasn’t aware that Patterson was living in the house and had not seen Closs around.
Jayme, a student at Riverview Middle School in Barron, had not been seen or heard from since her disappearance until Thursday when she approached a woman in the Town of Gordon after escaping from a home, identified herself and asked the woman to call 911.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in Gordon at 4:43 p.m. and a suspect was taken into custody at 4:54 p.m. Late Thursday, investigators blocked all streets leading to a cabin in the 14100 block of South Eau Claire Acres Circle as they combed for evidence, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Gordon is about 40 miles south of Lake Superior and about 65 miles north of Barron, Jayme’s hometown. The town is home to about 645 people in a heavily forested region where logging is the top industry.
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