The Night Jayme Closs Was Kidnapped: Shotgun Blasts, Terror and Duct Tape: Criminal Complaint

Jayme Closs surrounded by her aunt, left, and cousin, right.
Jayme Closs, surrounded by her aunt, Jennifer Smith, left, and cousin, Lindsey Smith, right.Lindsey Smith

Jayme Closs saw her mother shot to death after they hid from intruder in a bathtub, according to a court document.

The first sign of the terror to come dragged 13-year-old Jayme Closs from a deep sleep, according to court documents.

Her beloved dog, Molly, was barking her small head off. The incessant noise sent the girl walking around her Wisconsin home to see what was wrong. She saw a car pulling into her family's driveway, and she went to wake her parents, James and Denise. 

It would be the last time she saw the two of them together.

In a 12-page criminal complaint released Monday evening, prosecutors described in harrowing and brutal detail how Jayme was abducted after her parents were killed by shotgun blasts to the head. 

It is the most explicit description to date of the terror and violence visited upon a middle-class family in a small community that ended 88 days later when Closs, wearing her alleged abductor's shoes, escaped the cabin in northern Wisconsin where a 21-year-old stranger named Jake Patterson had allegedly kept her captive after killing her mother and father, according to authorities. 

He had seen her walking to the school bus one day, the complaint said, and allegedly decided he would take her.

The carnage began not long before 1 a.m. on Oct. 15. After being awakened by his daughter, James, 56, went to investigate, shining a flashlight out the front window, and then going to the front door, where Patterson stood with a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun, the complaint said.

After the father demanded to see a badge, perhaps thinking the man on his doorstep was a cop, Patterson allegedly lifted his weapon and fired a round through the door's decorative window, striking Closs in the face, the document said.

Jayme and her mother, Denise, 46, were hiding in a bathtub with the shower curtain pulled tight, behind a locked and barricaded door. Denise dialed 911 on her cell phone, but didn't say anything, Jayme told investigators after her dramatic escape.

Patterson eventually came to the locked door and had to shoulder it 10 to 15 times to break it down, Patterson told detectives after his arrest, the document said. He told Denise to hang up the phone. 

He ripped the shower curtain from its rod and threw it to the floor, according to the complaint. Denise and her daughter were sitting in the tub, with Jayme wrapped in her mother's arms. He ordered Denise to cover Jayme's mouth with duct tape he'd brought, prosecutors said.

When the mother wasn't able to do it, Patterson told investigators, he did it himself, wrapping the thick tape around Jayme's head and over her mouth, according to the complaint. He ordered Jayme to stand, and wrapped more tape around her wrists and ankles and then removed her from the tub, the document said.

While she stood next to him, Patterson picked up the shotgun, aimed at Denise's head and pulled the trigger, according to the complaint. "The defendant stated he aimed for Denise's head because he knew that head shots were the best way to kill a person," the document said. 

He then dragged Jayme out the door, nearly slipping on blood covering the floor, and threw her in the trunk of his car, the complaint said. The entire incident took no longer than four minutes, Patterson told police, according to the document.

He had only been driving for just 20 seconds when he saw three cruisers coming towards him on the way to the Closs home, the complaint said. He yielded to the police cars and continued driving, he told investigators, according to the document.

At his home, he kept Jayme under his twin bed, and piled containers and weights against it so she couldn't get out, the complaint said. Jayme told investigators that Patterson left her there for 12 hours at a time, and told her she would face serious consequences if she tried to get out,. He hit her and regularly had angry outbursts, she told detectives, the document said.

Sometimes Patterson had his father or friends over while she was kept under the bed, with music playing in the room so she couldn't hear what was going on in the house, she said. 

On Jan. 10, Jayme said Patterson again left her under the bed, saying he was going to be gone for five or six hours. She was able to push away the containers and weights and crawl out, she said. She put on a pair of Patterson's sneakers, which were much too big for her, and walked out the front door and into the snow.

She came upon a woman walking her dog, who took her to a nearby house, where authorities were called. Jayme provided them with her abductor's name and a description of his car, authorities said.

Officers later found him returning his home. He had discovered Jayme was gone and had been driving around looking for her, the complaint said. When the police pulled up, Patterson said "I know what this about. I did it," the complaint said.

Under questioning, Patterson described his actions and his preparation, the document said. He did not know Jayme's name, or her parents' names, when he saw her getting on the school bus in the days before he acted, according to the complaint.

Authorities did not say when, exactly, Patterson allegedly saw Jayme for the first time. He told detectives he twice drove to the Closs house before Oct. 15, but did not stop because there was activity inside the home. 

At a brief press conference Monday, the district attorneys for Barron County, where the Closs family lived, and Douglas County, where she was held, said they would provide no other details about the case beyond what was contained in the complaint.  

Jayme "deserves enormous credit" for being brave enough to escape, Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright told reporters. Patterson had made his first court appearance earlier in the day, but did not enter a plea. Bail was set at $5 million for charges including murder, kidnapping and armed burglary.

Authorities also released audio Monday of a 911 call made after Jayme ran for safety. 

"Hi, I have a young lady at my house right now and she says her name is Jayme Closs," says homeowner Kristin Kasinskas. The dispatcher asks Kasinskas if she has seen photos of the missing girl. 

"Yes, it is her. I 100 percent think it is her. One hundred percent,"  she answers. Kasinskas told the operator her neighbor, Jeanne Nutter, brought the girl to her house.

Nutter told investigators she took Jayme to a neighbor's home because Patterson lived just doors down from her, and she was afraid he would see her with the child, according to the complaint.