21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson faces murder, kidnapping charges following safe recovery of missing teen Jayme Closs
The man accused of kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents in October wasn’t home when the teenager made her escape and “appeared to be out looking for her” when authorities located him, officials said Friday.
The suspect, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, of Gordon, was driving around in his vehicle when he was apprehended, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a news conference.
The update from authorities came a day after they announced that Closs, 13, was found alive following a nearly three-month disappearance. She vanished Oct. 15 after James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were gunned down inside their home in Barron County, located about 80 miles northeast of Minneapolis. Officials determined Closs was inside the home when her parents were murdered, but then the trail went cold.
Patterson surrendered peacefully and was arrested "just down the road from the residence," Douglas County Sheriff Thomas Dalbec previously said. Authorities are not looking for any additional suspects, Fitzgerald said.
The investigation suggested that the suspect didn’t know any family members at the home, nor had he been in touch with them, but allegedly went there with the purpose of kidnapping the teen, Fitzgerald said.
“At this time, nothing in this case shows the suspect knew anyone at the Closs home or at any time had contact with anyone in the Closs family,” Fitzgerald said. “The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her.”
Fitzgerald added that while Patterson had a job at a turkey plant for less than two days, more than three years ago, he “did not have any contact with Jayme’s parents, who also worked at the turkey plant.”
Additionally, authorities “don’t believe there was a social media connection” between Closs and Patterson and are working to figure out “how he became aware of Jayme,” Fitzgerald said.
A gun that’s consistent with a weapon used during the October crime scene was also located, however authorities are awaiting official confirmation from the state crime lab, Fitzgerald said.
“The gun used at the scene on the night of the incident was a shotgun,” the official said. “The shotgun was also used … to shoot open the door at the Closs home on the night of the incident. The door of the Closs home was not kicked in.”
The suspect made “great efforts to minimize his forensic footprint at the crime scene,” Fitzgerald said, such as shaving his head to avoid leaving behind hair evidence.
Patterson is due in court on Monday where he’ll be formally charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping, the official said.
Fitzgerald reiterated his earlier praise of Closs, saying she “is the hero in this case, there’s no question about it.”
On Thursday, Closs was able to escape from a cabin before flagging down a person walking a dog in Gordon and asking for help. Jeanne Nutter, the woman who first spotted Closs, told The Associated Press she "was terrified" but wanted to "get her to a safe place." She recalled the teen looked disheveled, dirty and thin. She also noted Closs was wearing shoes too big for her feet.
"She [Closs] just yelled, 'Please help me, I don't know where I am. I'm lost,'" Nutter recalled.
The two went to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas who called 911.
Since her return to safety, the teen has been reunited with her aunt and “is doing as well as circumstances allow,” Fitzgerald said.
Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.