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Missing teen Jayme Closs found alive, neighbor describes moment girl was rescued

Authorities released the name of the suspect accused of abducting the 13-year-old girl, who was found by a dog walker about 100 miles away from home.
/ Source: TODAY

A 13-year-old Wisconsin girl missing since her parents were found shot to death three months ago has been found alive.

Authorities on Friday said they have arrested Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, on multiple charges related to the abduction of Jayme Closs and the October murder of her parents.

Jayme was Patterson's "only target," said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald during a news conference Friday.

"Jayme was taken against her will and escaped from the residence at which she was being held in. We also don’t believe at this time the suspect had any contact with the family," he said.

"I can tell you the subject planned his actions and took many proactive steps to conceal his identity from law enforcement and general public," Fitzgerald added.

The suspect did not have a criminal history with local law enforcement authorities.

Patterson was arrested shortly after Jayme made her escape and was found Thursday afternoon by a woman walking her dog in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 100 miles away from the girl’s home in Barron. The woman recognized Jayme and immediately took her to the nearest home, which belonged to Kristin Kasinkas, and began pounding on the door.

“She knocked on our door, and then actually opened our door and said, ‘Call 911. This is Jayme Closs!'” Kasinskas said by phone Friday to TODAY's Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. “We recognized Jayme immediately. I mean, her picture has been everywhere around here. Billboards and things. We recognized her immediately.”

Jayme was reported missing on Oct. 15, the same day authorities received a 911 call from her mother’s cell phone. Officers arrived at her home about four minutes after the end of the call and found the front door kicked in and the girl’s parents, James and Denise Closs, shot to death. They did not find the girl inside.

Family speaks out after missing girl found alive
Jayme Closs had been missing since mid-October, when authorities found her parents inside their home shot to death.Getty Images

Kasinskas told TODAY that Jayme looked unkempt, but appeared calm and was not crying when she walked into her home. She declined an offer of food and drink but said she was cold, so she was provided a blanket.

“She seemed kind of in shock, and kind of timid, but she did talk to us a little bit. She came in and sat down in our living room and was able to have a conversation with us,” Kasinskas said.

The girl did not recognize the town she was in, nor did she provide a lot of details about her captor.

“She did state who she believed had her, and she did give us a little information about the person’s car. But other than that she didn’t give us a ton of details,” she said.

“She kind of talked about being locked up or hidden when this person had to leave, but she did not go into any detail about how she got away.”

Kasinskas said she recognized the name of the person Jayme gave but it was “not somebody I knew well by any means.”

Authorities have since blocked off a cabin in a nearby rural area and a suspect in custody.

Jayme’s aunt and uncle expressed relief over their niece's discovery.

“It’s just unbelievable. We're all just so grateful and happy,” Jeff Closs told NBC affiliate KARE-TV.

Her aunt, Kelly Englehardt, expressed shock to the station.

“We've had so much bad news,” she said. “It's what we've prayed for every single day for the last 87 days.”

Both expressed gratitude and said there have been a lot of “happy tears.”