BARRON, Wis. (WITI/AP) -- A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty Wednesday to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents, in a move that spares the girl held captive in a remote cabin for three months from the possible trauma of having to testify at his trial.
Multiple reporters sitting in the gallery told FOX6 News Patterson said, “Bye, Jayme” as he was escorted out after the hearing.
As part of a plea deal, Patterson pleaded guilty to two charges of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping — all felonies. A fourth charge filed against Patterson, burglary with a dangerous weapon, was dismissed and read into the court record. In addition, the state will not file criminal charges against Patterson for crimes committed in Douglas County that may be associated with the Barron County charges.
Patterson faces life in prison on the homicide counts and a maximum 40 years on the kidnapping charge.
Patterson told authorities that he decided “to take” Jayme Closs after seeing her getting on a school bus near her home, a criminal complaint says. He's accused of killing her parents, James and Denise Closs, on Oct. 15 at the family home near Barron, about 90 miles northeast of Minneapolis. He then allegedly threw Jayme into the trunk of his car and drove to a remote cabin, where authorities say he held her for 88 days until she escaped Jan. 10.
Jayme told police that the night she was abducted, she was asleep in her room when the family dog started barking, the criminal complaint says. She woke her parents as a car came up the driveway.
She and her mother hid in the bathroom, clutching one another in the bathtub with the shower curtain pulled shut. They heard Jayme's father get shot as he went to the front door. Patterson then found Jayme. He told detectives he wrapped tape around her mouth and head, taped her hands behind her back and taped her ankles together, then shot her mother in the head, according to the complaint.
During her time in captivity, Patterson forced Jayme to hide under a bed when he had friends over and penned her in with tote boxes and weights, warning that if she moved, “bad things could happen to her.” He also turned up the radio so visitors couldn't hear her, according to the complaint.
Authorities searched for Jayme for months and collected more than 3,500 tips. In January, she escaped when Patterson was away from the cabin and flagged down a woman who was walking her dog for help. Patterson was arrested minutes later.