Compiled by Saskia Murphy TI Media Content
As Jayme Closs boarded the school bus, she had no idea of the evil that was watching.
Happily chatting to her friends, Jayme didn’t notice Jake Patterson, 21, on the way to his job at a cheese factory.
Patterson was a man with disturbing fantasies. He dreamed of abducting girls.
And spotting young Jayme, he’d chosen his victim.
The 13-year-old loved sports and dancing.
As an only child, she was everything to her parents, James and Denise.
But nothing would stand in Patterson’s way.
Obsessed with his fantasy, he found out where the Closs family lived.
Visiting their house twice, he was scared off both times.
But, on October 15, 2018 – his third visit – Patterson put his sick plan into action.
It was roughly 1am when he pulled into the Closs’ driveway.
Dressed in black, he wore a mask, hat and gloves.
He’d even shaved his head and put fake number plates on his car.
As he approached the house, the Closs’ dog started barking.
Alarmed, Jayme woke up and saw a dark figure approaching the house, so she ran to wake her parents.
Her dad immediately saw the intruder was carrying a gun and told Denise and Jayme to hide in the bathroom.
Locking the door, they cowered together in silence as James went to investigate.
James shouted through the glass of the front door.
But, as he did, Patterson lifted his gun and shot James through the window, right in the head.
He was killed instantly.
Determined to get to Jayme, Patterson blasted his way into the house.
When he came to the locked bathroom, he started kicking down the door.
Frantic, Denise called police.
But she didn’t get a chance to say a word. Patterson had barged his way in.
There was Denise, desperately clutching her terrified daughter.
Using duct tape, Patterson covered Jayme’s mouth and bound her hands andankles.
Then, he lifted his gun and shot Denise in the head – right in front of her petrified little girl.
Leaving Denise’s body in the bath, Patterson dragged a distraught and hysterical Jayme outside and threw her into the boot of his car.
He then drove the girl to his remote cabin, 100 kilometres away.
There, he burned the clothes that Jayme had been wearing, and dressed her in a pair of his sister’s old pyjamas.
When the police arrived at the home of the Closs family, they were horrified.
There were so many questions.
Where was Jayme? Could it be possible that she’d shot her parents?
But the theory was fast dismissed – and the police realised that Jayme was in danger. They launched a nationwide manhunt, with volunteers searching the area and thousands of dollars offered in rewards.
But, as the months passed, hope of ever finding the teenager safe faded.
Little did anyone know, she was being held hostage.
Jayme’s life with Patterson was hell.
When he went out, he’d force Jayme under his bed and barricade her in with boxes and weights, with no food or water.
And if his father or friends visited, he turned up the radio to conceal any noise she might make.
Too scared to move, she’d already seen Patterson murder her beloved parents.
What would he do to her if she disobeyed him?
But on January 10, 2019 – after 88 days of being taken hostage – Jayme saw her chance to escape.
Patterson went out for a few hours.
Using all her strength, Jayme pushed her way out from under the bed.
Then, she put on a pair of Patterson’s shoes and ran.
Coming across a woman walking her dog, Jayme begged for help.
The woman took the underweight and dishevelled teenager to her friend’s house and called the police.
Both women recognised Jayme from the missing-person posters plastered all over the area.
Meanwhile, Patterson had returned home to find Jayme missing.
He jumped in his car, but, soon after, police pulled him over.
‘I did it,’ he said.
Jayme was traumatised, but finally safe.
As she tried to recover from her horrendous ordeal, the police wanted to find out more about Patterson.
He had no criminal record.
People who knew him said he seemed quiet and unassuming.
Yet he’d committed the most unthinkable crimes.
In March 2019, Jake Thomas Patterson, 22, pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Jayme didn’t appear in court, but her lawyer read the victim impact statement she’d written.
‘Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. There are some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can’t take my freedom. He thought he could own me and he was wrong. I will always have my freedom and he will not.’
Sentencing Patterson to life in prison without the chance of parole, the judge said, ‘There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the most dangerous men to ever walk on this planet.’
He called Patterson the ‘embodiment of evil’.
Over a year on from the abduction and losing her parents, brave Jayme is reclaiming her life.
She’s living with her aunt and uncle, back at school and enjoying time with friends.
‘I feel stronger every day,’ Jayme said