The grandfather of a Wisconsin girl who was kidnapped after her parents were killed in October said Wednesday that he appreciates the sympathy being expressed by the suspect's father.
Robert Naiberg's granddaughter, 13-year-old Jayme Closs, escaped from a remote cabin in northwest Wisconsin late last week, nearly three months after she was abducted from her family's home. Investigators allege the suspect , 21-year-old son Jake Patterson, targeted the girl after first spotting her getting on a school bus.
"You can't blame the parents," Naiberg told The Associated Press. "A guy becomes 21 years old, and sometimes it's not how he was raised or anything."
Patterson's father, Patrick Patterson, visited the Barron County Justice Center on Tuesday saying he wanted to pass a note to the Closs' family, CNN reported. On the verge of tears, Patrick Patterson declined an interview but said: "All I care about right now is Jayme's family."
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told the AP he had no knowledge of a note from the Patterson family.
Jake Patterson was charged Monday with two counts of intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary, according to a criminal complaint.
A Wisconsin town is in shock over the abduction of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents, who were targeted by stranger Jack Patterson, a man who had been planning the crime since watching the teen board a school bus last fall.
“The randomness of it is the tough part here and I think that is a struggle for the community,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We were hoping it wasn’t and it turns out it was random, but very well planned out, which are two of the worst things as a sheriff you can have for any crime.”
Patterson confessed to the murders and abduction and has been charged on two counts of homicide and kidnapping. On Monday, he told investigators that he “was determined to take Jayme that night and was going to kill anyone in the house because he could not leave any eyewitnesses behind.” He attempted to kidnap her twice before October 15, but was scared away by seeing people or cars.
Kristin Kasinskas called 911. “Hi, I have a young lady at my house right now and she says her name is Jayme Closs,” she said in the call, per the Eau-Claire Leader-Telegram. “I 100 percent think it’s her,’ Kasinkas said.
The couple declined to accept the reward, saying that if the money should go to anyone, it should be Closs because “She got herself out.” The FBI and Barron County Police are still considering what to do with the $50,000 reward offered for finding Closs.
Jayme has been reunited with her extended family. Her grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told the AP that she will live permanently with her aunt. “She doesn’t want to talk to anybody,” he said, “(but her aunt is) bringing her out of her shell slowly.”
Jayme Closs' story sounds like a nightmare that, against all odds, concluded with the miraculous.
Answering the prayers of her family and an entire city that was hoping she would come home, the 13-year-old is alive, having managed to escape her alleged abductor three interminably long months after her parents were killed in their Wisconsin home.
What happened to Jayme during those torturous 88 days is still in the process of being revealed, but the very fact that she is now with family members and on the road to recovery was an unexpectedly happy ending to this story. Most children who go missing, if they've been kidnapped by a predator, don't come back at all if they aren't found in the first 24 hours.
Not infrequently, there can be some disagreement or confusion in those critical first few hours as to whether a child has actually been abducted—and in 2018, less than 1 percent of 25,000 missing-children cases that involved law enforcement were categorized as nonfamily abductions, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
But there was no misunderstanding about the scene that greeted law enforcement in the early morning hours of Oct. 15, 2018.
Former Attorney General Brad Schimel, who led the Wisconsin Department of Justice's involvement in the Jayme Closs case, says investigators always had reason to believe the 13-year-old was alive.
It's been two weeks since Jayme made her escape after being held for 88 days. The suspect, Jake Patterson, is accused of killing Jayme's parents before kidnapping her from her Barron County home.
Almost immediately after James and Denise Closs were found dead and their 13-year-old daughter missing, the Wisconsin Department of Justice was called in to help with the investigation.
“This is truly as bad as it gets for us,” said Judge Brad Schimel, who served as Wisconsin Attorney General at the time of Jayme’s disappearance.
Jayme told investigators she heard sirens just seconds after she was bound and dragged from her home. The suspect, Jake Patterson, even told detectives he yielded to sheriff deputies racing to the Closs home, before continuing on the almost 80 mile drive back to his Gordon home with Jayme in the trunk.
Wisconsin authorities have examined call logs, photos and videos stored on the cellphone of the man accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and killing her parents, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
The search warrant documents filed in Barron County Circuit Court don't reveal the nature of the photos and videos stored on the phone of 21-year-old Jake Patterson, who is charged with killing James and Denise Closs on Oct. 15 and kidnapping their daughter, Jayme Closs. But the documents said evidence on the phone could be used "to determine the chronological context" of what happened.
Jayme escaped from a cabin in Douglas County on Jan. 10 after 88 days in captivity and flagged down a woman for help. She was able to provide a description of the car Patterson was driving, and he was arrested minutes later.
According to a search warrant affidavit, the red Ford Taurus that Patterson was driving was taped up and taken to a secure evidence garage. The FBI's evidence response team searched the car the next day and found his cellphone on the front seat.