Missing Wisconsin Teenager Jayme Closs Has Been Found Alive, According To Police

Leah Carroll

The Barron County Sheriff's Department has reported via Facebook that missing Wisconsin 13-year-old Jayme Closs has been found alive, after escaping a home in a remote area where she was being held captive.

Jake Thomas Patterson, a 21-year-old from Gordon, was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree homicide in the murder of Closs' parents and one count of kidnapping. Authorities said Friday that Patterson planned his actions and went to extraordinary lengths to conceal his identity.

Authorities said they believe Closs, not her parents, was the target and it's unclear if she knew Patterson before. Patterson has no prior criminal history.

Closs has been missing since October 15, when her parents were found shot to death in their home. Police believe the teen was home at the time of the murders and was kidnapped.

Her disappearance set off a massive manhunt and joint investigation between Wisconsin investigators and the FBI. Earlier on Thursday the reward for information in her case had been increased to $50,000.

The Star Tribune reports that Closs was discovered in the town of Gordon, Wisconsin – just 70 miles from her family's home – when she approached a woman walking her dog at around 4:43 p.m. on Thursday and asked for help. The woman, who has asked not to be identified, recognized her immediately and then approached the nearest house, banging on the door for help. When Kristin Kasinkas opened her door, the woman shouted, "This is Jayme Closs! Call 911!"

As they waited for police to arrive, Closs — who was described as being skinny, dirty with matted hair, and wearing oversized shoes — played quietly with the Kasinkas' puppy and declined food and water.

The search for the teen began on October 15, with a cryptic 911 call from the Closs home shortly after midnight. While nobody spoke, dispatchers could hear a "disturbance." Neighbors reported hearing gunshots and when police arrived they discovered James and Denise Closs had been shot to death by an unknown intruder. The door had been kicked in and their 13-year-old daughter was missing.

"We do believe Jayme was the only target. I can tell you that the subject planned his actions, and took many proactive steps to hide his identity from law enforcement and the general public," Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said at a Friday morning press conference.

Over 2,000 volunteers joined the initial search effort and more than 3,500 tips poured in but in the end, it was Closs herself who provided police with the break in the case they needed.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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