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21-year-old charged with kidnapping of missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs, murdering her parents

January 11, 2019 - 10:24 am
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(GORDON, Wis.) -- A 21-year-old man has been charged with kidnapping Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old girl who had been missing for three months, and killing her parents, authorities said.

Authorities identified the suspect Friday as Jake Thomas Patterson of Gordon, Wis., the same town where Closs was found alive 88 days after she was abducted, authorities told reporters Friday morning.

Patterson, who is currently not employed, had been concealing Jayme from his friends and family, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said. It is unclear if the suspect knew Jayme or her family before she was kidnapped, but he did have ties to Barron County, Fitzgerald said.

He was taken into custody in Douglas County and is currently being held at the Barron County jail.

Closs escaped from the suspect's home, authorities said, but the circumstances under which she did so were not released. Douglas County emergency dispatchers received the 911 call around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec said.

The woman who was walking a dog found the teen and walked her to a nearby home, where the residents offered Closs food and water and called 911, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

Both the woman who found Closs -- who asked that her name not be used -- and the residents of the nearby home recognized her from media reports, Fitzgerald said.

Douglas County deputies later located a vehicle matching description of the suspect's car provided by Closs, pulled Patterson over and arrested him.

Closs was reported missing on Oct. 15 after her parents, James and Denise Closs, aged 56 and 46, were found shot to death in their home in rural Barron, Wisconsin, about an hour's drive south of where she was located.

Authorities are still trying to find out what happened to Closs during the three months she was missing. Investigators received more than 3,500 tips during that time, Fitzgerald said.

Shortly before Closs was found, a fake alert in Walworth County had been released saying she had been located, Fitzgerald said.

Her family "never gave up hope," Fitzgerald said.

"Jayme is safe, and the family is requesting that you please respect their privacy at this extremely emotional time," he said.

Jayme's aunt and godmother, Jennifer Smith, told Good Morning America Friday that they would be reunited after Closs is released from the hospital in the afternoon.

"We are just happy everyone kept praying and didn't give up hope, like we didn't," Smith told ABC News Thursday evening. "A lot of happy tears in this house tonight."

Patterson does not have a criminal history. Authorities are not searching for any additional suspects, authorities said.

The case has been turned over to the Barron County District Attorney's Office, Prosecutor Brian Wright told reporters. Wright plans to have a criminal complaint filed against Patterson by next week, he said.

Authorities will release additional details at a 5 p.m. ET press conference.

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