’88 days living in fear’: Jayme Closs’ family speaks movingly as her kidnapper faces sentencing
DNY59/iStock(GORDON, Wis.) —
Relatives of 13-year-old Jayme Closs spoke movingly at Friday’s sentencing hearing for Jake Patterson, the Wisconsin man who pleaded guilty to abducting Closs, killing her parents and then holding her captive until she escaped.
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty in March to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for shooting and killing Closs’ parents on Oct. 15, 2018, and one count of kidnapping for taking the couple’s only child from her home in rural Barron, Wisconsin.
He faces up to life in prison.
Closs’ relatives, including aunt Sue Allard and cousin Lindsey Smith, spoke in court Friday, urging the judge to sentence Patterson to the maximum for each count.
“My sister and brother-in-law were such loving and giving and beautiful people,” Allard said at Friday’s sentencing. “It was senseless.”
“Oct. 14 was a typical family event with nothing but happiness,” said Smith. “We spent the next 88 days living in fear, pain and not knowing what happened to our family.”
“On the 88th day we were finally told that Jayme would be coming home,” Smith said. “We were so glad that Jayme was home… but you took so much from Jayme. You took her parents, her home, her childhood and all of her happiness.”
“You took so much from all of us. You took my aunt and uncle from me,” Smith said. “The last moments of my aunt’s life were the worst and scariest moments of her life. No one should leave this earth in such a horrible way.”
Patterson held Closs captive in his home in Gordon, Wisconsin, for 88 days, until she escaped on Jan. 10, according to court documents.
Patterson confessed to investigators that he targeted Closs after seeing her board a school bus, according to a criminal complaint.
After Patterson fled with the girl to his home, he created a space for Closs under his bed. When he would leave the house, he would put barbells and free weights around the bed so she couldn’t escape, according to the complaint.
Closs, who did not speak at Friday’s sentencing hearing, was honored at the Wisconsin State Assembly last week.
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