Jayme Closs found: A timeline of events – Appleton Post Crescent


BARRON – People in Barron County, across Wisconsin and throughout the country breathed a collective sigh of relief when 13-year-old Jayme Closs was found safe after she was missing for nearly three months.

Jake Thomas Patterson, of Gordon, was being held in the Barron County Jail Friday on two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping. The district attorney plans to file charges next week. Patterson’s first court appearance is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Patterson was arrested after Jayme escaped from an isolated home outside the Town of Gordon and provided the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department with a description of Patterson’s vehicle.

Below is a timeline of the events:

Oct. 15

12:58 a.m.: Barron County Sheriff’s Department receives a 911 call from 1268 U.S. 8, a residence just outside Barron. According to Fitzgerald, the dispatcher was not able to make contact with the caller on the line.

  • Deputies respond to the home and find two adults dead inside. A 13-year-old girl, Jayme Closs, is presumed missing.
  • Investigators from Barron County, the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show up to help at the scene.
  • Fitzgerald announces that the Closs home was searched by drone and infrared camera with no signs of Jayme. Investigators also go to Jayme’s school in Barron to interview teachers and classmates for potential information.
  • Descriptions and photos of Jayme are given around town to be sure no one has seen her.

3:30 p.m.: A nationwide Amber Alert is sent out for Jayme Closs. She is described as 5-feet-tall, 100 pounds with blonde or strawberry blonde hair.

6 p.m.: An updated press release from the sheriff’s department identifies the deceased parents as 56-year-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs. The two were identified as husband and wife.

Oct. 16

11 a.m.: Fitzgerald holds another press conference with FBI agents and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation to update media on the investigation.

  • Fitzgerald says tips have continued to come in and investigators have continued to investigate; however, there are currently no suspects.
  • Residents of Barron and neighboring communities are asked to be on the lookout and think about if anyone they know has been acting differently, missing work or school, missing appointments, changing behaviors or wanting to skip town. And if so, to notify the sheriff’s office.
  • The sheriff explains the 911 call Monday morning, saying it was made from a cellphone. He said dispatchers weren’t able to make contact with anyone on the line, but it was apparent a disturbance was going on.
  • The FBI continues to monitor Jayme’s social media accounts for any leads.
  • Investigators have returned to the home to take a second look at the crime scene to make sure nothing was missed.

4 p.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald hosts the second and final press conference of the day and reiterates that the only credible information will be coming from their department at the podium or on their Facebook page. 

  • Fitzgerald says there is no information yet that can clearly show this as an abduction. However, he continued to reiterate that Jayme is missing and in danger.
  • He also says that there is no clear cut information that proves the case has to do with sex trafficking.
  • By 3 p.m., Fitzgerald says the department had already received over 200 tips that are actively being investigated.
  • The autopsy of the Closs parents (which was supposed to happen Tuesday) will take place on Wednesday as new information pushed it back.
  • Fitzgerald said that more than 100 law enforcement officials are currently assigned to the case.
  • The community is not needed yet to help with voluntary searches, Fitzgerald said. However, he continued to encourage people to use the tipline.

Oct. 17

3 p.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald announces that he, along with Victim Assistance representatives will hold a 7 p.m. town hall meeting at Wisconsin Indian Head Technical College in Rice Lake. Access will only be allowed to Barron County residents.

4 p.m.: Fitzgerald holds another press conference.

  • Fitzgerald said autopsies conducted on James and Denise Closs’ bodies determined that they died from gunshot wounds. Their deaths have been ruled as homicides.
  • Officials believe Jayme was still home at the time of the homicides, Fitzgerald said.
  • Fitzgerald said they haven’t received any tips of a credible sighting of Jayme.

6 p.m.: The sheriff’s department and the FBI Milwaukee announce on social media that law enforcement action was needed Wednesday for “serious criminal activity”.

  • The posts state that the criminal activity was uncovered while searching for Jayme.
  • The FBI and sheriff’s department say they do not believe the criminal activity is related to the disappearance.
  • Hundreds of people commented on the sheriff’s department post wanting further explanation. The sheriff’s department replied saying, “It means an unrelated arrest was made and media was on scene and I wanted to report that.”

Oct. 18

12:45 p.m.: The sheriff’s department says on Facebook that it will begin a search party at 2 p.m. in Barron.

  • Fitzgerald says they are looking for people to conduct a routine search for “articles of evidentiary value that may be related to the incident.”
  • One hundred volunteers are needed for the search that will kick-off at 2 p.m. Volunteers will need to provide a photo ID and have proper shoes and clothing.

10 p.m.: Jayme Closs added to FBI’s top missing persons list.

Oct. 22

10:45 a.m.: The Sheriff’s Department posts on Facebook to announce it will be holding another search party for evidence in the case.

  • Fitzgerald again states that the group will be searching for “articles of evidentiary value that may be related to the incident.”
  • Up to 2,000 volunteers will help search throughout surrounding areas.

4 p.m.: The sheriff’s department holds another press conference releasing multiple vehicles of interest.

  • Sheriff Fitzgerald shows three images of two vehicles of interest that were in the area of the Closs home at the time of the incident.
  • One of the vehicles was reported as either a 2004-2010 Black Acura MDX or a 2006-2010 Black Ford Edge.
  • The other vehicle was reported as a 2008-2014 red or orange Dodge Challenger.
  • Fitzgerald asks that if anyone has seen any of these vehicles to report them to the tip line.

Oct. 23

4 p.m.: A search party was held in Barron County to search for articles of evidentiary value that may be related to the disappearance of Jayme Closs.

  • The full 2,000 volunteers showed up and searched the area from 9 a.m. until about 5 p.m.
  • Fitzgerald says that none of the items collected during the search appeared to be connected to the crime.
  • According to the sheriff’s department, more than 1,400 tips have been received about the case.

Oct. 26

10 a.m.: Officials increase the reward for information on Jayme Closs to $50,000 after an extra $25,000 donation from Jennie-O Turkey Store.

  • The original reward posted by the sheriff’s office was $25,000.

Oct. 29 

3 p.m.: The sheriff’s office released info about a burglary that took place in the Closs home on Oct. 27.

  • Kyle Jaenke-Annis of Cameron reportedly broke into the home around 2:30 a.m.
  • Jaenke-Annis was caught in the act on motion activated cameras set up around the house.
  • Officials detained Jaenke-Annis when he exited the home, and he admitted to entering without permission and stealing items. Police found two girl’s tank tops, underwear and a dress in his coat pocket.
  • Jaenke-Annis works at Jennie-O Turkey Store, which is where James and Denise Closs worked, but told police he didn’t know the family.
  • When asked why he took the clothes, Jaenke-Annis said people wouldn’t miss those items, and he was curious what size Jayme wears.
  • Jaenke-Annis is not involved in 13-year-old Jayme’s disappearance.

Nov. 1

10 a.m.: Investigators are shifting their strategy in the search to find a missing Barron teenager as the number of tips coming in decreases.

  • The sheriff’s department announced that it’s transitioning its Emergency Operations Center “from a 24/7 reactive operation to a more deliberate and methodical effort.”
  • Officials said tips have begun to slow down now as they have received over 2,100.
  • Fitzgerald emphasized that the change in operations doesn’t mean tips should stop. There is still a team on-call to handle tips as they come in, he said. 

Nov. 11

9 p.m.: The Barron County Sheriff’s Department posts on their Facebook page, congratulating Barron musician Chris Kroeze on making it to the top 12 on The Voice. 

  • Kroeze drew awareness to the case during his performances on national TV and performed “Let It Be,” a song dedicated to Closs.
  • Kroeze also raised spirits by performing a concert at Jayme’s school and at a vigil set up for her.

Nov. 15

9:30 a.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald posts on the department Facebook page reminding the community that the Closs case remains a No. 1 priority across the state and the country and for hunters to stay vigilant during hunting season.

  • Fitzgerald tells hunters to make sure to report anything suspicious they may see in the woods such as clothing or weapons.
  • The department continues to follow up on tips that continue to come in and that video evidence continues to be analyzed in partnership with the FBI and DCI.

RELATED: Jayme Closs vanished after her parents were murdered in October. Has the case gone cold?

Dec. 12

5 p.m.: Riverview Middle School in Barron holds a tree-lighting ceremony in honor of Closs. The ceremony was put on by the school, Jennie-O Turkey Store and Hormel foods, where the Closs parents worked.

  • Dedicated to Jayme and her parents, the tree stood outside the school adorned in blue, green and white lights. Students decorated it with handmade ornaments.
  • Community members sang and prayed together as they heard from Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald, James and Denise’s employer, and the Closs family. Students and relatives released lanterns into the sky symbolizing James, Denise and Jayme.
  • Fitzgerald continues to stress that he believes Jayme is still alive and says investigators are continuing to expand the search.

Dec. 21

12 p.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald takes to Facebook and remind families to continue to look for clues, tips or behavioral changes in family members that may seem odd.

  • Fitzgerald says that tips continue to come in and that he and investigators believe that Jayme is still out there.
  • He stresses to keep an eye on family and friends during that holidays that may be acting strange or different.

Jan. 3

9:30 a.m.: Information about Jayme Closs and picture of her are added to a semi trailer that will travel across the U.S. to raise awareness of her case.

  • Fitzgerald says the trailer is a great tool and shows that people are willing to play a part in the search for Jayme.
  • The trailer gives information about Jayme and lets people know how they can submit tips to the sheriff’s department.
  • Fitzgerald discredits a photo that circulated on social media showing a man with a girl who resembles Jayme, though officials are still trying to find the original owner of the picture.

RELATED: Semitrailer dedicated to Jayme Closs hits road to aid search for missing teen

Jan. 10

4 p.m.: A rumor spreads on Facebook that a heavy police presence near Walworth County is due to a rescue of Jayme Closs, Sheriff Fitzgerald takes to Facebook to discredit the tip.

  • Fitzgerald reinforces the fact that this report is fake news and that the police presence has nothing to do with the Closs case.

7:55 p.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald posts on Facebook that Jayme Closs has been found safe in Douglas County.

  • Douglas County shares in a news release that Closs was located at 4:43 p.m. in the Town of Gordon. A suspect was taken into custody at 4:54 p.m.
  • According to Douglas County’s release, a citizen phoned in that they had located Jayme.
  • Closs was reunited with family and taken to a local hospital where she spent the night for precautionary reasons. 
  • KARE-TV in Minneapolis reported that Jayme was found at Eau Claire Acres, a small development about six miles east of Gordon on County Y, according to the Town of Gordon board chairman.
  • The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that a source said Jayme escaped from a home in Gordon and approached a neighbor, identifying herself and saying she’d been kidnapped.
  • Fitzgerald says on Facebook that they do not have any other details at this time as it remains a very fluid and active investigation. A Barron County Sheriff’s Department press conference is Scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.
  • Fitzgerald thanks Douglas County and law enforcement across the state for their efforts in helping bring Jayme home.

Jan. 11

10 a.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald speaks to the media at a press conference announcing the suspect as 21-year-old Jake Patterson of Gordon. He also takes questions from the media about the case.

  • Fitzgerald said Patterson had no prior criminal history in the state of Wisconsin, but did have ties to the Barron community. No additional suspects are being sought in the case.
  • The sheriff was able to confirm that Jayme did escape the home she was being kept in and was able to find a woman walking a dog in the area. She was then kept safe in a neighboring home until police arrived.
  • Jayme, Fitzgerald believes, was the main target in the case.
  • Jayme is undergoing a reunification process, talking with detectives and mental health professionals before she is brought back to Barron County Friday afternoon, Fitzgerald said.
  • Patterson is being held in Barron County Jail on two first-degree intentional homicide charges and a kidnapping charge.
  • Fitzgerald reinforced that the case remains “very active and fluid.”

4 p.m.: Sheriff Fitzgerald speaks to the media at another press conference. He also takes questions from the media about the case.

  • Fitzgerald said Jayme was released from the hospital Friday afternoon and reunited with an aunt, with whom she’ll stay for at least the short term.
  • The sheriff said a shotgun was recovered from the home in Gordon that is consistent with the type of gun used at the Closs home. The state crime lab is examining the gun.
  • Fitzgerald said that, while Jayme was targeted for kidnapping, Patterson didn’t know anyone at the Closs home and had no prior contact with them. He added that there was no social media connection between Patterson and Jayme.
  • He said Patterson wasn’t at the Gordon home when Jayme escaped.
  • Investigators have a search warrant for the home.
  • Fitzgerald said Patterson will make an initial appearance at 3:30 p.m. Monday in Barron on two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.

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