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Little is known about the 21-year-old man accused of kidnapping Wisconsin teenager Jayme Closs as the investigation is underway.
Jake Thomas Patterson, of Gordon, Wisconsin, was arrested Thursday on homicide and kidnapping charges. His initial court hearing is scheduled for Monday and records showed he does not have an attorney.
On Thursday, authorities announced Closs, 13, who disappeared in October, was found alive. She vanished on Oct. 15 after her parents – James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, – were shot dead at their home in Barron County.
Closs was able to escape from a cabin before flagging down a person walking a dog in Gordon and asking for help.
Patterson was driving around in his vehicle when he was apprehended Thursday, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a news conference. He surrendered peacefully, authorities said.
The investigation suggested that the suspect did not know any family members at the Closs home nor had he been in touch with them, but allegedly went there with the purpose of kidnapping the teen, Fitzgerald said.
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.
Not much is known about the suspect who appeared to keep to himself. Patterson took such measures as shaving his head beforehand to avoid leaving evidence at the scene, the sheriff said. A shotgun was recovered from the home where Closs was believed to be held, according to Fitzgerald.
Property records show that the cabin belonged to Patterson’s father at the time of the teen’s disappearance.
Patterson had no criminal record and graduated in 2015 from Northwood High School, where he was on the quiz bowl team and was a good student with a “great group of friends,” District Superintendent Jean Serum said.
Patterson was unemployed at the time of his arrest but worked one day in 2016 at the same Jennie-O turkey plant in Barron as Closs’s parents.
Following his arrest, Patterson’s family, including his mother and brother, “shut down their social media accounts,” the Star Tribune reported.
Residents who knew Patterson described him as quiet. Patricia Osborne told the Star Tribune that the suspect had gotten into trouble before.
“They’ve stolen stuff before. They’ve been in foster care,” Osborne said. “And the dad I guess, I don’t know. I’ve met him and talked to him when I walked through the neighborhood, but that’s about all I know.”
A former classmate, who was not named, said Patterson stayed mostly to himself and was quiet.
“He just was quiet, too quiet, which explains why he didn’t have friends,” they said.
Jennifer Smith and Jayme Closs are all smiles after the teenager was found on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Jennifer Smith via AP)
The suspect’s parents divorced in 2007, the media outlet reported, citing court records.
Neighbor Daphne Ronning told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Patterson’s parents moved to Gordon about 15 years ago. She said his parents moved away but the suspect and his brothers continued to use the home. She said she did not know Patterson was living at the house and had not seen Closs.
Authorities said they believed Closs was Patterson’s “only target” and was taken against her will.
Closs was reunited with her aunt and the rest of her family. A picture circulated around social media of Closs smiling next to her aunt Jennifer Smith.