Neighbors Describe Arming Themselves After Finding Jayme Closs as Suspect Jake Patterson Due in Court

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 14, 2019USshare

The Wisconsin residents who assisted missing teenager Jayme Closs after she escaped from captivity said they were ready to shoot if the girl’s kidnapper came looking for her.

Jayme approached a community member in Gordon on Jan. 10, the first time she’d been seen since vanishing from her house on Oct. 15, 2018.

When law enforcement officers responded to a mysterious 911 call early that morning, they found Closs missing and her parents murdered, with no signs of a burglary.

The woman walking her dog who Jayme approached, Joanne Nutter, rushed the girl to a nearby home since her own house was close to that of the alleged kidnapper.

Kristin Kasinskas and Peter Kasinskas revealed that they were armed in case the man authorities said had imprisoned the girl, Jake Patterson, came to their house to look for her.

neighbors armed themselves
(L-R) Kristin Kasinskas, husband, Peter, and Jeanne Nutter and her dog Henry head back to their homes after speaking with the media in Gordon, Wis., on Jan. 11, 2019. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

“When our neighbor Jeanne came in with Jayme, she said: ‘Get a gun. We don’t know if he’s after us,’” Kristin Kasinskas told Fox News. “So we were armed and ready in case this person showed up.”

Soon after Jayme was ushered inside their home, Patterson was found by police officers driving nearby.

“My kids and I—we went downstairs,” Kasinskas said. “My husband was asked to stand guard at one of the doors on the upper floor. [Patterson] was then arrested not that far away from our house.”

The suspect, 21, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.

Jake Thomas Patterson mugshot
Jake Thomas Patterson, of the Town of Gordon, Wis., who has been jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges in the October 2018 killing of a Wisconsin couple and abduction of their teen daughter, Jayme Closs. Jayme was found alive on Jan. 10, 2019, in the town of Gordon. (Barron County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Patterson Due in Court

Patterson is scheduled to make his first court appearance in Barron County Circuit Court on Monday, Jan. 14, to be formally charged.

Investigators believe that he forced his way into the home of James and Denise Closs in Barron in October before shooting them dead and fleeing with their daughter, who is 13 years old.

Authorities expanded the search for Jayme nationwide shortly after the abduction but turned up few clues and said after she escaped and was located that neither the town of Gordon nor Patterson had been on their radar.

Patterson’s defense attorneys, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, said they’re concerned about getting their client a fair trial but they’re not sure whether that can happen. They said the case was “a tragic situation from every perspective.”

jayme closs missing wisconsin teen found
Jayme Closs, 13, went missing and was found on Jan. 10, 2019. (Barron County Sheriff’s Department)

“It’s been an emotional time for this community and a difficult time for this community. We don’t take that lightly. But we have a job to do in protecting our client,” Jones told The Associated Press.

Officials said at a press conference on Jan. 11 that Patterson didn’t have any known connection to the family and Jayme told FBI agents during questioning that she didn’t know him before the kidnapping, her grandfather, Robert Naiberg, said.

Jayme was reunited with her family on Friday after being medically evaluated and debriefed by agents.

“She’s doing exceptionally well for what she went through,” Naiberg said. “She’s in exceptionally good spirits.”

The charging documents that are set to be revealed on Monday are expected to shed light on what prosecutors believe motivated Patterson to commit the crimes and how he chose the Closs family as a target.

Jayme Closs house in Barron Wisconsin
The home where 13-year-old Jayme Closs lived with her parents, James and Denise, in Barron, Wisconsin Oct. 17, 2018. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)

Neighbors Didn’t Have Suspicions

People in the Gordon community said they didn’t suspect that Patterson was holding a teen girl at his home.

“Never in a million years would I have thought Jake would ever do something like that,” Elissa Lisenby, who attended Northwood High School with Patterson, told the New York Post. “This isn’t the Jake we all grew up knowing.”

Patterson wrote that he was planning to join the Marines in the yearbook from his senior year.

“I’m finally done with this school,” he wrote, reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In 2015, he was voted as the “most quiet” boy in the class of 34 students he graduated with.

Other classmates said he “was just kind of there” and would occasionally make sharp jokes but at other times sleep during class.

“He seemed like he was just one of those guys in school that wanted to fit in but couldn’t because he lacked social skills. … (He) never really made an impact in any way,” said one former classmate, who declined to be identified.

First picture of Jayme Closs after escape
Jennifer Smith, Jayme’s aunt, and Jayme on Jan. 11, 2019, one day after Closs escaped from captivity in Gordon, Wis. (Jennifer Smith)

Patterson did join the Marines but dropped out of boot camp and failed in other attempts to start a career, Clinton Rolnik, another former classmate, told the Post.

Between the failed attempts, he was “sitting at home doing nothing, as usual,” since graduating from high school, Rolnik said. He also didn’t have any suspicions of what was allegedly happening at Patterson’s home, adding, “Nobody really knew him like we thought.”

Kasinskas, who teaches middle and high school science, said she taught Patterson when he was 12 or 13 years old and described him as a shy but bright student who had a close circle of friends.

“He didn’t say a whole lot and never really stood out a whole lot to me because he wasn’t super engaging,” Kasinskas told Fox News. “Since then, I didn’t keep up with him. I didn’t even know he lived on this street. … I didn’t know he was my neighbor until Jayme said, ‘Jake took me.’”

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