Wisconsin man gets life behind bars for kidnapping Jayme Closs, killing parents

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BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV/AP)--- A Wisconsin man will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents.

Twenty-one-year-old Jake Patterson was sentenced Friday in Barron County. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. He admitted to abducting Jayme in October and killing her parents, James and Denise Closs.

The teen was held captive in a remote cabin for 88 days before she escaped.

“I don’t want another family to go through the nightmare my family has endured, judge as I come before you I ask for you to sentence the defendant to maximum sentences on each count in this case," said Sue Allard, family member.

“I still don’t believe it. I still think I am going to wake up, and this is going to be a bad dream, but obviously today we are here and none of us are going to win today. None of us are going to get our family members back," said Kelly Englehardt, another family member.

Patterson was sentenced to life in prison without release on each homicide count and 25 years in prison on the kidnapping count. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Jake Patterson said, "I will just say that I would do like absolutely anything to take what I did. I would die. Do absolutely anything to – to bring them back *cries* I don’t care about me I am just so sorry. That is all."

Jayme's guardian ad litem read a statement written by Jayme during the sentencing:

Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad. I love my mom and my dad very much -- and they love me very much. And they did all they could to make me happy and to protect me. He took them away from me forever.

I felt safe in my home and I love room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don't want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night.

My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory. I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep.

I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to do dance. He took all of those things from me too.

It's too hard for me to go out in public. I get scared and I get anxious. These are just ordinary things that anyone like me should be able to do. But I can't because he took them away from me.

But there are some things Jake Patterson can't ever take from me. He can't take my freedom. He thought that he could own me. But he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not.

Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn't. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave and he was not.

He can never take away my spirit. He thought that he could make me like him. But he was wrong. He can't ever change me or change the way I am. He can't stop me from being happy in moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life -- and he will not.

Jake Patterson will never have any power over me. I feel like I have some power over him because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him. He stole my parents from me. He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me -- and didn't care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.

Timeline of events in the Jayme Closs disappearance case

Oct. 15, 2018 — James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, are found shot to death in their home in Barron, a town in western Wisconsin. Authorities issue an Amber Alert for 13-year-old Jayme Closs, and the search for her begins.

Oct. 16, 2018 — Investigators say they don’t consider Jayme a suspect in her parents’ deaths. Authorities also dismiss a tip placing Jayme’s whereabouts in Miami as “not credible,” and say they believe the girl is in danger.

Oct. 17, 2018 — Authorities announce that investigators believe Jayme was in her family’s home when her parents were fatally shot.

Oct. 18, 2018 — About 100 people join a ground search for Jayme after Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald requests the help of volunteers. The search turns up nothing useful. The Wisconsin Department of Justice announces it is sending therapists, comfort dogs and school resource officers to help students at the school Jayme attended.

Oct. 23, 2018 — About 2,000 volunteers from as far as Minneapolis help with another ground search . Several items are found and taken for assessment.

Oct. 24, 2018 — The FBI offers a $25,000 reward for information leading to Jayme’s location. The amount is later doubled to $50,000 by the Jennie-O Turkey Store, where James and Denise Closs worked.

Oct. 27, 2018 — Funerals are held for James and Denise Closs in Cameron, a village next to Barron.

Oct. 29, 2018 — Prosecutors announce they have charged a man with burglarizing the Closs home but say he’s not a suspect in the case.

Dec. 12, 2018 — Hundreds of people attend a “tree of hope” lighting ceremony in honor of Jayme in Barron.

Jan. 10, 2019 — Jayme is found alive in Gordon, a town about an hour’s drive north of Barron. She is skinny, disheveled and wearing shoes too big for her when she approaches a stranger and pleads for help. A man driving around the rural area is soon taken into custody.

Jan. 11, 2019 — Investigators say the suspect, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, is jailed on homicide and kidnapping charges.

Jan. 14, 2019 — Prosecutors formally charge Patterson with two counts of intentional homicide and one count each of kidnapping and armed burglary. A judge sets bail at $5 million cash. A criminal complaint says Patterson saw Jayme get on a school bus one day, decided he would take her and then kept her trapped in his remote cabin until she escaped.

Feb. 6, 2019 — A judge orders Patterson to stand trial after Patterson waives his right to a preliminary hearing.

March 27, 2019 — Patterson pleads guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. Sentencing is set for May 24.