Four guests who gathered at a remote Wisconsin cabin for a party on Christmas Day had no idea a missing 13-year-old was being held prisoner under the same roof, according to a new report that somehow made an already-harrowing saga of murderous kidnapping even more disturbing.
Jake Patterson, the man who was arrested on January 10 for allegedly killing Jayme Closs's parents and kidnapping the girl for more than 80 days, kept her under a bed while his father, sister, and their two significant others celebrated the holiday, two law-enforcement sources told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
"The family was there," one source said, adding that Patterson "told [Jayme] that if she made a noise or tried to escape, he would kill her."
The paper's sources added that the guests did not appear to have received any indication that someone was in the other room, and that there was no reason to believe Patterson's grandparent—whom he separately visited while his victim was left barricaded under a bed in the cabin—knew he was involved in Closs's kidnapping. The official criminal complaint against Patterson suggests that other friends and family may have been by to visit the cabin during that time as well, and that he used loud music to decrease the chances anyone might have heard her.
Meanwhile, keeping his alleged crimes secret from family was not the only act of subterfuge Patterson seems to have engaged in during the months local, state, and national law-enforcement were conducting a nationwide search for Closs. Although the suspect was, in some ways, a living ghost prior to his arrest, he did attempt to integrate himself into society while holding the teen captive. He told a liquor company he applied to work at on the day of his arrest that he had served months in the Marines, though he apparently only lasted about five weeks. He also represented himself as "honest and hardworking" in his resume, though his tendency was to last only one or two days at any place of employment.
In fact, the only thing Patterson seems to have ever followed through with his in 21 years was the kidnapping of which he is accused. After he happened to spot Closs at a bus stop, prosecutors say, he hatched a meticulous plan that involved stealing a license plate to disguise his car and taking out the light inside so that it would not be illuminated when he entered or exited the vehicle. He also apparently bought a balaclava at a Walmart and shaved his head to avoid leaving any DNA evidence at the crime scene.
After being deterred twice by signs of activity at the Closs house when he previously intended to carry out the kidnapping, prosecutors say, Patterson went through with it (along with the killing of her parents by way of shotgun blasts to the head) on October 15.
"The defendant stated he basically assumed he had gotten away with killing James and Denise and kidnapping [Jayme Closs] since he hadn’t been caught for the first two weeks," according to the criminal complaint. "The defendant stated he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly."
Patterson's been charged with kidnapping, armed burglary and two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, for which he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted. Such an outcome seems relatively likely given that he already told a sergeant with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, "I did it," according to the complaint. Though he has not yet pleaded, Patterson made an emotionless first appearance before a judge on January 14. His bail has been set at $5 million, and his next court date is scheduled for February 6.
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