BARRON, Wis. (AP) – For nearly three months, 13-year-old Jayme Closs was forced to hide in a two-and-a-half-foot space beneath her kidnapper’s bed, going without food, water or a bathroom for hours, too terrified to flee from a man she knew had fatally shot both of her parents.
But when Jake Thomas Patterson left the remote cabin on the 88th day of her captivity, she finally made a break for freedom, authorities said. She put on Patterson’s sneakers so hastily that they ended up on the wrong feet.
After a neighbour called 911, Patterson was soon captured as he drove around the rural area searching for her.
“She’s 13 years old, and if you read the criminal complaint, you can see the amount of control that he was exerting over her,” Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said.
“And at some point, she found it within herself at 13 years old to say, ‘I’m going to get myself out of this situation.’ I think it’s incredible.”
The complaint filed on Monday offered the most detailed account yet of the attack on the Closs couple and the cruel conditions under which their daughter was held.
Patterson, 21, was charged on Monday with two counts of intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. A judge set his bail at USD5 million cash. Prosecutors say more charges could come later.
His defence attorneys, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, have said they might seek a change of venue.
“It’s been an emotional time for this community and a difficult time for this community. We don’t take that lightly. But we have a job to do in protecting our client,” Jones said.
Patterson’s relatives, including his father, Patrick, declined to comment after his initial court hearing.
The suspect grew up an hour north of Barron, which is about 90 miles northeast of Minneapolis.
He graduated from high school in May 2015 and joined the Marines. He lasted a month before he washed out after failing to meet “expectations and standards,” a Marine spokeswoman said. She did not elaborate.
According to the complaint:
Patterson was working at a cheese factory west of Barron when he stopped behind a school bus on his way to work and saw Jayme getting on. He decided then that she “was the girl he was going to take.”
He made two trips to her home meaning to kidnap her but broke off both attempts because he thought too many people were at the house. He returned to the home a third time on October 15.
Dressed almost entirely in black and wearing a face mask and gloves, he armed himself with a shotgun.
He told detectives he attached stolen licence plates to his car so police would not be able to track him.
He disabled the dome light, removed a cord that allowed the trunk to be opened from inside and coasted down the Closs driveway with his lights off just before 1 am.
Jayme told police that her dog began to bark. She woke her parents. Her father went to the front door while she and her mother hid in the bathroom, hugging each other in the bathtub with the shower curtain pulled closed.