Sheriff says Wisconsin teen reunited with aunt

Courtesy: Jennifer Smith
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BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV/AP)--- Authorities say a Wisconsin teen who was abducted during an October home invasion in which her parents were killed has been reunited with an aunt.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a news conference that 13-year-old Jayme Closs was taken back to her hometown of Barron on Friday.

It was also announced in at the Friday morning press conference that 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson was arrested for the murders of James and Denise Closs, Jayme’s parents, and for kidnapping Jayme.

Deputies arrested Patterson in his vehicle soon after Jayme turned up on a neighbor's doorstep near Gordon. Authorities in Wisconsin say they believe Patterson, was out looking for her when he was arrested.

Fitzgerald said Patterson had zero criminal history in Wisconsin and was not on law enforcement’s radar. Fitzgerald also said Patterson took measures to avoid identification from law enforcement and the public.

According to the Barron County Sheriff, Patterson changed his physical appearance before the October attack and the abduction of Jayme Closs, including shaving his head to avoid leaving any hair behind. He says investigators believe Patterson killed Jayme's parents to abduct her.

Sheriff Fitzgerald said Friday at a news conference that investigators don't think Closs had ever interacted with Patterson before the October events transpired. He says investigators don't believe there was any social media connection between Patterson and Jayme, and they are trying to determine how he "became aware" of the girl.

He said he doesn't know if Jayme was abused by her captor and that detectives are interviewing her about her ordeal.

Sheriff Fitzgerald says investigators have recovered more than one gun, including a shotgun consistent with the type of gun used to kill Jayme's parents, James and Denise Closs. He says the shotgun still needs to be tested to determine if it was the weapon used.

The company that employed Closs’ parents says Patterson worked at the plant for just one day, nearly three years ago.

Steve Lykken, President of the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron, issued a statement Friday saying Patterson was hired one day but quit the next, explaining that he was moving away from the area.

An obituary for James and Denise Closs says they worked at the turkey processing plant for 27 years.

Lykken says the company and the Hormel Foods family are "overjoyed at the news of Jayme's safe return."

Sheriff Fitzgerald said Patterson has a tie to Barron County, but he didn't specify except to say it wasn't a connection to the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron where James and Denise Closs worked.

A neighbor said she and her husband had problems years ago with Patterson.

Daphne Ronning told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Patterson's parents moved to Gordon about 15 years ago. She said the parents later moved away but Patterson and his brother continued to use the home. She said she and her husband once caught them siphoning gas. She said her husband spoke with them and they didn't have any further problems.

Ronning said she didn't know Patterson was living in the house and hadn't seen Jayme around.

Right now, a search warrant is underway to find items in Patterson’s home in Gordon. Officers are not looking for any additional suspects.

Jayme was found at Eau Claire Acres, a small development about six miles east of Gordon. Gordon is just an hour north of her home in Barron. Ownership of a remote cabin where Jayme was apparently held during a nearly 3-month disappearance passed to a credit union soon after the girl's abduction.

Records show that Patterson's father transferred the title of the cabin near Gordon to Superior Choice Credit Union on Oct. 23, eight days after the Oct. 15 attack at the Closs family's home near Barron, which is about 60 miles south of Gordon. It was appraised at $79,300.

The circumstances of the transfer weren't clear. The credit union didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Friday and The Associated Press couldn't find a working phone listing for Patterson's father, Patrick Patterson.

A woman who called 911 to report that a missing 13-year-old Wisconsin girl had been found says the girl told her that the man arrested in the case "killed my parents and took me."

Kristin Kasinskas told The Associated Press on Friday that Jayme Closs said she didn't know why she was targeted.

Kasinskas says she doesn't really know Patterson even though he lives three doors down from her. She says she taught him middle school science but only remembers that he was quiet.

Kasinskas also says she didn't see Patterson during the months that Jayme was missing.

The Barron County District Attorney said he plans to have a complaint filed by next week against Patterson.

Pattesron will make his initial court appearance on Monday afternoon in Barron County Circuit Court.

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