Closs Suspect is 21-Year-Old from Gordon

Updated: January 11, 2019 06:07 PM

A 21-year-old man from Gordon is being held in connection with the kidnapping of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and the murder of her parents.

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Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a news conference Friday that the suspect, Jake Thomas Patterson, potentially faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.  He is being held in the Barron County Jail.

Fitzgerald said the suspect has no criminal record in Wisconsin.  He was arrested Thursday afternoon in Gordon shortly after Closs escaped and told a woman what had happened.

"It's amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said the suspect has ties to the Barron area and that he believes he targeted Jayme Closs. Fitzgerald said it doesn't appear the two had had any contact on social media.

According to the Associated Press, the company that employed Jayme's parents says Jake Thomas Patterson worked at the plant for one day nearly three years ago.
Steve Lykken, president of the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barren, issued a statement Friday saying 21-year-old Jake Patterson was hired one day but quit the next, explaining that he was moving away from the area.
An obituary for James and Denise Closs says they worked at the turkey processing plant for 27 years. Lykken says the company and the Hormel Foods family are "overjoyed at the news of Jayme's safe return."
Authorities say Jayme escaped from a cabin in the town of Gordon on Thursday and they arrested Patterson on homicide and kidnapping charges.

The sheriff said Closs was inside the home when her parents were killed.

Fitzgerald said they are continuing to investigate and search for evidence in Gordon.  He said the suspect has several vehicles, which they are evaluating.

The suspect is expected to make an initial court appearance next week.

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