Details emerge of kidnapped US teen Jayme Closs' escape, and her three-month ordeal

Details emerge of kidnapped US teen Jayme Closs' escape, and her three-month ordeal

The 13-year-old escaped from her alleged kidnapper Jake Patterson last week

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A "Welcome Home Jayme" sign displayed for Jayme Closs on January 11, 2019.
Photo: AFP

The 13-year-old girl who escaped last week from a kidnapper who had killed her parents told police that the man had made her hide under his bed whenever guests were over or he was away, under the threat of physical harm.

It was during one of these moments that Jayme Closs made her dramatic escape last week, after Jake Patterson, who has been charged with the crimes, told her he was leaving the house for five hours. Jayme had fled, finding a neighbour out walking her dog, and, after the authorities were alerted, helping police identify and arrest Patterson.

The details emerged in a criminal complaint made against Patterson, 21, who is charged with two counts of first degree homicide and one count of kidnapping for the incident. The complaint, from the district attorney of Barron County, from the Midwestern US state of Wisconsin, is based on the accounts of Jayme, Patterson and the sheriff’s deputies involved in the case. It lays out in depth the way officials believe that Patterson had executed his gruesome plan.

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They said that Patterson had targeted Jayme after seeing her boarding a school bus one day. Though he did not know anything about her, he told police that he decided then that “he knew that was the girl he was going to take,” according to the complaint.

He had driven by Jayme’s home twice before the day she was kidnapped, as he worked out a meticulously designed plan to kidnap her and avoid detection, authorities said. He had dressed in a black jacket and black mask, shaving his face and head to avoiding leaving any physical traces at the scene. He had brought his father’s Mossberg shotgun he said, according to the complaint, because he knew the popular gun would be hard to trace. He had selected 12-gauge slugs because they would inflict the most damage on someone, the complaint said.

After he arrived at the home, Patterson shot Jayme’s father, James Closs, through a glass window in the home’s door after the man demanded he show him his badge, the complaint said. Jayme and her mother were upstairs hiding in a bathroom, where one of them had apparently called the police.

Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt, Jennifer Smith in Barron, Wisconsin after she was reunited with her family.
Photo: AP

Patterson shouldered the door 10-15 times before breaking it open, finding Denise Closs, 46, with her arms around her daughter. He wrapped duct tape around Jayme’s mouth, wrists and ankles, before shooting Denise in the head, the complaint said. As he drove away from the crime scene, he had seen three squad cars with their lights and sirens on, the complaint said.

Relatives say Jayme Closs is back with her family.

“The first step is surrounding her with love, making sure she’s safe - she feels safe. She’s doing pretty well. I spent the afternoon there yesterday. We had her smiling, laughing. Going through things in her room,” one of her aunts, Sue Allard, said Monday.

For nearly three months, local, state and federal authorities had been looking for Jayme - an agonising search that drew national attention. The teen disappeared on October 15 from her home in Barron, Wisconsin, where her parents, 56-year-old James Closs and Denise Closs, had been discovered dead from gunshot wounds.

Friends and family members feared the worst for Jayme.

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Patterson, 21, is set to appear in court Monday afternoon in Barron County Circuit Court. It was not immediately whether he has an attorney in the case.

Jayme’s family members told CBS This Morning they could not be more proud of the teen.

Jake Thomas Patterson.
Photo: AP

“The thing I wanted to express to her immediately, and we all do, is the pride we have in her for doing this. For getting out. For making it. For the power that she has,” another one of Jayme’s aunts, Lynn Closs, said on the morning show. “You know, I mean, that she took the power away from this man. That she did this. I mean it’s just incredible. I mean the strength that this little girl has, and the pride that we have in her for it, I mean that’s instantly what I thought.”

Although it’s still unclear what exactly happened to Jayme - and how she survived - her story has inspired other kidnapping survivors to speak out and let the girl know that they understand what she went through.

Elizabeth Smart, who, as a teen in 2002, was abducted and held against her will for nine months, and Michelle Knight, one of several women held captive for years by Ariel Castro, expressed relief that she had been found but said that her life may not be the same.

“There’s just no going back. There’s just going forward and coming to terms with your new normal,” Smart told NBC News.

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“Before I was kidnapped, I was very quiet, I was happy to blend in with everyone else, to not be noticed. And all of a sudden, I came back home, and everyone knew my name and wanted to talk to me, and it was very overwhelming.”

Jayme’s relatives admitted that they were curious about what happened to the girl - but said it’s not about them.

It’s about Jayme.

“If she wants to be happy, let her be happy. If she wants to be sad, let her be sad. If she wants to be silly, let her be silly,” Lynn Closs said on CBS This Morning. “We’ve got to let her call the shots right now.”

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