Suspect in Jayme Closs’ kidnapping had no previous criminal record

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By David K. Li

The suspect charged in the kidnapping of Jayme Closs and murder of her parents in their Wisconsin home has no criminal record and wasn’t an immediate suspect in the grisly crime, officials said Friday.

Jake Patterson was arrested in connection to the slayings of James Closs, 56, and his wife Denise Closs, 46, and the kidnapping of Jayme Closs, 13, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.

Patterson, 21 is from Gordon, Wisconsin, the town where Jayme was found, which is about 70 miles from the family’s Barron home. The latest census data shows the town has a population of 743 people.

While authorities believe Jayme Closs was his intended target, it wasn’t immediately clear what previous connection, if any, Patterson had with the family, authorities said.

The northwest Wisconsin community of Gordon, where Patterson lived, was “not on our radar,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.

Even if Patterson has no rap sheet, MSNBC analyst and former FBI hostage negotiator Clint Van Zandt said he wouldn’t be surprised if the suspect committed bad acts that just didn’t lead to an arrest.

“There were likely other offenses that we don’t know about. He might have been a stalker, he might have been a peeper, he could have done any number of things that didn’t end in an arrest,” he told NBC News. “It’d be a quantum leap, on one day, for him to suddenly decide to blow two people away and take a child.”

A 911 call from Denise Closs’ phone was made the night of the crime and deputies showed up in four minutes, authorities said. Van Zandt said Jayme’s kidnapper clearly had a well-rehearsed plan when he kicked in the family’s door on Oct. 15.

“There was a lot of planning and forethought put into this,” Van Zandt said. “He was able to gain entry and kill people, take control of the victim. He had clearly played this out in his mind.”

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