Jake Patterson pleads guilty to kidnapping, double murder


What we know about Jayme Closs’ kidnapper Jake Patterson.

BARRON, Wis. – Jake Patterson pleaded guilty Wednesday to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and murdering her parents, a move that spares the teenager and her family from enduring a trial. 

Patterson, 21, appeared in Barron County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon to be arraigned on first-degree intentional homicide, kidnapping and armed burglary charges. He is being held in the Polk County Jail on a $5 million cash bond. 

In court, Patterson repeatedly answered “yes” to a range of questions from Judge James Babler about whether he understood the charges, and whether he was certain he wanted to plead guilty. He hesitated for several seconds, sniffled and his voice broke, as he admitted kidnapping Jayme. 

Babler set sentencing for the afternoon of May 24, and revoked Patterson’s bond.

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The case adjourned after about 18 minutes.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop the armed-burglary charge, and to not charge Patterson with any crimes related to the time he kept Jayme in captivity at a home in Douglas County.

Prosecutors say Patterson gunned down James and Denise Closs on Oct. 15 and abducted Jayme, then held the teenager in the Douglas County town of Gordon for 88 days. During her captivity, Patterson and Jayme told police, he forced her to hide under a twin bed when he had company or left the house. He threatened and yelled at her.

Patterson began planning Jayme’s abduction after he saw her board a school bus, according to his statement to police. He visited the Closs home twice before the kidnapping and murders, and shaved his head and face to avoid leaving DNA behind. He also made modifications to his car, including replacing his plates with a stolen one.

Jayme escaped on Jan. 10 and was rescued by Patterson’s neighbors. Patterson was apprehended by police a short time later. 

Prosecutors in Douglas County have declined to file additional charges for now due to “victim-related concerns.” Any charges there would account for what happened during Jayme’s captivity, much of which remains unknown.

In a letter to a reporter from Minneapolis-based KARE-TV, which the NBC affiliate published this month, Patterson said he would plead guilty to spare Jayme and her family from a trial. He expressed regret, saying he “can’t believe I did this.”

“No one will believe or can even imagine how sorry I am for hurting Jayme this much,” he wrote.

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Follow Haley BeMiller and Dough Schenider on Twitter: @haleybemiller and @PGDougSchneider


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