Jayme Closs kidnap suspect allegedly cut his hair to avoid leaving DNA evidence

Jake Thomas Patterson

BARRON, Wis. — The man accused of kidnapping Jayme Closs shaved his head to avoid leaving any evidence during the attack that left her parents dead, police said.

Jake Patterson, 21, allegedly shot and killed Jayme’s parents. Their bodies were found October 15 after a mysterious 911 call led deputies to their home in Barron, Wisconsin. The 13-year-old was missing when police arrived, leading to an intense manhunt that ended when she was found alive Thursday about 70 miles from her home.

In anticipation of the crime, the suspect cut his hair so he wouldn’t leave behind physical evidence in Closs’ home, Barron County Sheriff Christopher Fitzgerald said.

“I can tell you that the subject planned his actions and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public,” he said.

It appears Patterson went to the Closs home with the intention of taking Jayme, Fitzgerald said. But while she was his intended target, “nothing in this case shows the suspect knew anyone at the Closs home or at any time had contact with anyone in the Closs family,” Fitzgerald said.

Investigators are working to establish a connection and don’t believe Patterson and Jayme interacted on social media.

Nearly three years ago, Patterson worked for one day at the same meat products facility where Jayme’s parents also worked — the Jennie-O Turkey Store plant in Barron — the company’s president said. Patterson quit, saying he was moving from the area, according to the company.

Authorities have said they don’t believe Patterson crossed paths with Jayme’s parents there. Investigators are trying to determine whether he worked at another job in the area.

A mysterious call and the investigation

Police found James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, shot dead in their home three months ago. Jayme was nowhere to be found.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on October 15, 911 dispatchers got a call on which they could hear a lot of yelling, but the call log does not say who made the call. When the dispatcher called back, a voicemail greeting indicated the phone belonged to Denise Closs.

Police arrived to find the door kicked in, Jayme missing and her parents dead.

For months, thousands of people joined search parties as investigators received thousands of tips. The FBI offered a cash reward for information on her whereabouts, and authorities urged hunters in the area to be on the lookout for clues.

The search and tips had not yielded any clues before Jayme reappeared. But Fitzgerald said they never tired of looking for her.

87 days later, a miraculous escape

Jayme, who’d been missing for 87 days, was found Thursday outside the rural community of Gordon, where Fitzgerald said Patterson was allegedly holding her against her will in his home, the woman told WCCO.

Jeanne Nutter, who has a cabin in the Gordon area, was walking her dog on an isolated road around 4 p.m. when she saw Jayme out in the cold around dusk. Nutter said Jayme did not have a coat or gloves.

“I’m lost and I don’t know where I am, and I need help,” Jayme told Nutter, the woman told the station.

Nutter and Jayme went to the closest house, the home of Kristin and Peter Kasinskas.

“She said to us that, ‘This person killed my parents and took me,'” Kasinskas told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “She said that this person usually hides her or hides her when others are near, or when he has to leave the household. She did not go into detail about how she got out of the house or anything like that.”

They called 911, and Jayme provided a description of Patterson’s vehicle. Ten minutes after Jayme was found, Patterson was arrested. Police say he was out on the streets looking for Jayme after she escaped.

“While I don’t know how she escaped at this time, we believe that the suspect was out looking for her when law enforcement made contact with him,” Fitzgerald said.

Patterson was not at home when Jayme escaped, the sheriff added.

Patterson faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for the killing of Closs’ parents and one count of kidnapping, Fitzgerald said Friday.

Reunion and recovery

Jayme was taken to a hospital in Minnesota after she was found, her aunt, Sue Allard, said.

She was released from the hospital Friday and was reunited with her aunt in Barron, Wisconsin, and her dog, Molly.

“She is doing great,” Fitzgerald told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle.”

“Jayme was the hero in the case. Jayme was the champion that finally said enough is enough,” Fitzgerald said. “We can’t be more proud of Jayme.”