Jayme Closs: 13-year-old 'only target' of man suspected of kidnapping her and killing her parents

Wisconsin authorities say they believe 13-year-old Jayme Closs was “the only target” of a 21-year-old man suspected of kidnapping her and killing her parents in October.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald identified Jake Thomas Patterson as the man arrested by authorities after a three-month search for Jayme.

Mr Patterson has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder over the killing of Denise Closs, 46, and her husband James, 56, Mr Fitzgerald said in a news conference on Friday. The couple were found shot dead on 15 October.

Mr Patterson has charged with one count of kidnapping their daughter from the home in Barron, which police believe was the suspect’s original intention. Mr Fitzgerald said Mr Patterson “took many steps to hide his identity.”

The 13-year-old victim was found in Gordon—a remote town 70 miles from her home—88 days after she disappeared. She walked away from a cabin where she was held and asked a woman walking her dog for help.

Mr Patterson was arrested based on the description of his vehicle Jayme gave sheriffs. Mr Patterson is unemployed and has no criminal record in Wisconsin, authorities said. The sheriff said he was not sure whether Mr Patterson and Jayme knew each other.

Jayme managed to escape from the home where she was confined, a feat that Mr Fitzgerald called “unthinkable”.

“That is the will of a kid to survive,” he said.

Jeanne Nutter, who was the one walking her dog, said Jayme told her she had walked away from a cabin where she had been held captive not far from Ms Nutter’s home.

“I was terrified, but I didn’t want to show her that,” said Ms Nutter, a social worker. “She just yelled ‘please help me, I don’t know where I am. I’m lost’.”

Ms Nutter said she did not want to take Jayme to her nearby home because it was too close to where she had been found, and she did not want them to be alone. She said: “My only thought was to get her to a safe place.”

She was taken to the Kristin Kasinskas. Ms Kasinskas, and her husband Peter, heard Ms Nutter pounding on the door, shouting: “This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!”

The teen kidnapping victim was described as “unkempt,” and allegedly said she was “locked up or hidden,” according to Ms Kasinskas.

“She didn’t express any fear,” she told a NBC-affiliate station on Thursday.

The search for Jayme began in October 2018 after Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call and went to her home and found her parents shot dead. The police arrived at their home about four minutes after the 911 call was made with the 13-year-old nowhere to be found. The door was kicked in and no weapon was found.

Immediately after news broke of her disappearance, the authorities received thousands of tips from across the country. None of them were considered credible at the time.

The search for Jayme galvanized about 1,500 people, close to half the Barron’s 3,400 propulation, to join in. Place searched included wooded areas in suburban Minneapolis, about 90 miles west of Gordon.

But for now, Kelly Engelhardt, Jayme’s aunt, is grateful that her niece was found alive.

“I’m shocked,” Ms Engelhardt told NBC affiliate KARE. “It’s what we’ve prayed for every single day.