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Jayme Closs was reported missing one year ago Tuesday

Posted at 7:13 AM, Oct 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-14 08:13:58-04

It was one year ago when a 13-year-old girl was reported missing, and the small Wisconsin city of Barron started making headlines.

Jayme Closs went missing on Oct. 15, 2018 after a man, later determined to be 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, kicked in the door of her family's home and shot and killed her parents James and Denise Closs.

Patterson first saw Jayme when she got on a school bus one day. That's when he made up his mind that he was going to take her.

"He knew that was the girl he was going to take," read the criminal complaint.

He took Jayme to his home in the Town of Gordon where he would keep her underneath his bed, surrounded by totes, laundry bins and barbell weights so that she couldn't escape.

Jayme was sometimes kept beneath the bed up to 12 hours at a time without any food, water or bathroom breaks, and was told "bad things would happen to her" if anyone saw her.

Meanwhile, people in Barron searched for weeks for Jayme. The reward for her return was raised to $50,000, and she was placed on the FBI's top missing persons list in October.

Investigators pursued more than 2,300 leads in their investigation, but it wasn't until 88 days later that they got the news they'd been waiting for: Jayme Closs had escaped and was found safe.

On Jan. 10, Jayme escaped from Patterson's home while he was out and flagged down a woman who was walking her dog. She called out for help and told the woman she was lost before the woman recognized who she was and called 911.

Patterson was arrested on charges of first-degree homicide and kidnapping shortly after. He had no criminal history in Wisconsin.

"He tried to steal me, and he didn't care who he killed or who he hurt," said Jayme.

Patterson pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one of kidnapping in March. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on May 24.

"He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong. Jake Patterson will never take away my courage."
Jayme Closs

Community members in Barron welcomed Jayme home with open arms. She was honored by the Wisconsin assembly as a "hometown hero" in May.

The home where Jayme lived with her parents was demolished in August.