Jake Thomas Patterson, the man accused of kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents after spotting her get into a school bus, allegedly went to extreme lengths to try to cover his tracks.
Closs went missing on Oct. 15 when Patterson allegedly broke into her family's home outside Barron, Wisconsin and fatally shot her parents, James and Denise Closs. Earlier this month, Closs managed to escape her captor and seek help.
Many of those efforts have been detailed in a criminal complaint, obtained by Oxygen.com and authored by Barron County prosecutors.
“The defendant stated he put quite a bit of thought into the details of how he was going to abduct” Closs, according to that document. Here are some of the precautions Patterson is accused of taking before bursting into the Closs home.
The balaclava mask he bought
Patterson told investigators that on his second (and last day of employment) at Saputo Cheese Factory he bought a black balaclava type mask from Walmart. It was "part of his plan to conceal his identity when he took" the teen, according to the complaint. A balaclava mask resembles a face mask and it typically only exposes a person’s eyes and mouth.
During one of the two days he worked at that cheese factory, he said spotted Closs for the first time getting onto a school bus. "The defendant stated he had no idea who she was nor did he know who lived at the house or how many people lived at the house," but "he knew that was the girl he was going to take."
Waiting for the right moment
Patterson told investigators he drove to the Closs home twice with the intent to kidnap the teen, according to the complaint. Both attempts were prior to the night of the murders and abduction. The first time, there were “all kinds of cars in the driveway and it scared him off.” During the second alleged attempt, he could see people walking around and he decided that too many lights were on.
Instead, he allegedly waited for a moment when the family was sleeping.
Stealing and switching out the license plates on his car
Patterson allegedly stole the license plates off a vehicle parked in a yard before the third and final attempt to kidnap Closs. He "stated he stole the license plates because he did not want to get stopped or spotted with his own license plates on his car,” according to the criminal complaint. He then stopped on a side road and removed both the front and rear plates from his car before putting the stolen plate on the back of his red Ford Taurus. He didn’t put any plate on the front of his vehicle.
Making additional modifications to the car
Patterson allegedly removed and disengaged the dome light of his car so that he would be less visible. He also removed the trunk light and "what he described as the glow in the dark kidnapping cord from the trunk so that no one could pull the trunk release once inside."
When kidnapping Closs, Patterson allegedly dragged her out to his car and put her in the trunk. Not long after he began driving away, the teen heard the sirens of two squad cars, as she later recalled. A Barron County Sheriff's Deputy reported that while en route to the Closs home, responding to that 911 call, he noticed a car that was missing a front license plate.
The gun he chose
Patterson said he decided to use “his father's 12 gauge Mossberg pump shotgun because "he had done research and knew that the Mossberg brand shotgun was one of the most heavily manufactured or owned shotguns and assumed it would be more difficult to trace."
His father has publicly stated after his son’s arrest, that he only cares about Closs’ family at the moment.
Patterson also allegedly told investigators that "he felt that a 12 gauge slug would inflict the most damage on someone and would most likely be the best choice of shell and weapon to kill someone versus a rifle."
Wiping the shotgun shells
Patterson allegedly told investigators that he wiped down the shotgun shells while wearing gloves "so there would be no fingerprints or DNA on either of them." He was apparently confident that this method would work.
Shaving his head
Patterson allegedly shaved his head and face before killing Closs’ parents and kidnapping her. It wasn’t for aesthetic purposes, according to the document. He "stated he did this so that he would not leave any DNA or hair at the scene.”
The burning of Closs’ clothing
After allegedly bringing Closs to a secluded cabin he gave the teen a pair of his sister's pajamas and told her to change. Closs had wet herself because she was so scared, Patterson said.
He then burned not only her clothes in a fireplace but also the duct tape and the two pairs of gloves he had worn during the alleged kidnapping.
After he was arrested, Patterson blamed getting caught on a lack of planning. The teen had found a way to escape the home after Patterson left her alone for a few hours. She ran up to a woman who was walking her dog for help.
According to the complaint, Patterson said "he basically assumed he had gotten away with killing James and Denis and kidnapping [Jayme] since he hadn't been caught for the first two weeks. [...] The defendant stated he never would have been caught if he would have planned everything perfectly."
[Photo: Barron County Sheriff’s Department]
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