WISCONSIN • A 13-year-old girl's escape from a rural home where she was held captive for three months by a Wisconsin man charged with murdering her parents helped break the case and she should be treated as a hero, the local sheriff has said.
Jayme Closs is with her aunt after her rescue last Thursday and has been reunited with the rest of her family and her dog, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told reporters last Friday.
Thousands of volunteers and hundreds of law enforcement officers had searched the small town of Barron after Jayme's parents were found shot dead in their home last October, their front door blown open with a shotgun, their daughter gone.
Jayme had been targeted by suspected kidnapper Jake Patterson, 21, who planned the murder of the teen's parents, even shaving his head to avoid leaving forensic evidence at the crime scene, Mr Fitzgerald said. "Jayme was the target. The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her."
Relying on what Mr Fitzgerald called "the will of a kid to survive", Jayme escaped the house in the tiny town of Gordon where she had been held captive, about 100km north of her home in Barron. Her captor was not at home when she managed to flee, Mr Fitzgerald said. "Jayme is the hero in this case. She's the one who helped us break this case," he added.
Less than 15 minutes after Jayme's rescue, Patterson was taken into custody after police pulled him over, based on the teen's description of his vehicle.
Patterson, an unemployed resident of Gordon, is in custody after being been charged with kidnapping and with murdering James and Denise Closs with a shotgun. Their bodies were found on Oct 15.