Jayme Closs suspect had 'absolutely' no contact with family before killings, kidnapping, aunt says

The man accused of kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents in October had "absolutely" no contact with the family before the brutal slayings, her aunt told Fox News, as the first glimpse of the home where the teenager was allegedly held for months was revealed on Sunday.

Authorities in northern Wisconsin removed the barricade blocking the house in rural Gordon on Sunday morning, where authorities say brave 13-year-old Jayme Closs escaped captivity last Thursday.

Investigators had closed off the entire neighborhood for days as they carefully gathered evidence inside the home of Jayme’s suspected captor, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson. So far, police have not given any details on what type of conditions the house might contain.

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive in Gordon, Wisc.

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive in Gordon, Wisc. (Cristina Corbin/Fox News)

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive has two structures -- a two-story house and then a two car garage with what appears to be a boat covered by tarps.

The property in Gordon, Wisc. has two structures, a a two-story house and then a two car garage

The property in Gordon, Wisc. has two structures, a a two-story house and then a two car garage

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The property also has a trampoline and swing in the backyard, according to a review by Fox News.

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive in Gordon, Wisc.

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive in Gordon, Wisc. (Cristina Corbin/Fox News)

Police also have not commented on what type of physical or mental abuse Jayme might have suffered while in captivity. Jayme's aunt, Kelly Engelhardt, told Fox News the family is “not asking” Jayme questions right now.

This aerial photo shows the cabin where 13-year-old Jayme Closs was held by Jake Thomas Patterson, is surrounded by law enforcement vehicles, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in the town Gordon, Wis.

This aerial photo shows the cabin where 13-year-old Jayme Closs was held by Jake Thomas Patterson, is surrounded by law enforcement vehicles, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019 in the town Gordon, Wis. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

Patterson is being held on murder and kidnapping charges and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Police said they recovered a shotgun that is consistent with the gun used on Oct. 15 to blast through the front door of the Closs home and murder 56-year-old James and 46-year-old Denise Closs.

As the horrifying case continues to make headlines her aunt insists that her niece and the Closs family does not know Patterson.

“We know the truth and they had nothing to do with it,” Engelhardt told Fox News. “Police proved it on Thursday when they told us who he was.”

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Engelhardt added there was “absolutely” no contact between anyone in the Closs family and the alleged killer. The Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, backs up the family’s claim stating that so far there is no traceable communication between Patterson and the Closses. But, Fitzgerald said that Patterson has some type of connection to Barron—where he allegedly carried out his crime.

Jake Thomas Patterson allegedly murdered Jayme Closs' parents and kidnapped her.

Jake Thomas Patterson allegedly murdered Jayme Closs' parents and kidnapped her.

The baffling case begs many eerie questions—including how long Patterson might have been stalking Jayme and her family while crafting his plan from afar.

“The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her,” Fitzgerald said at a press conference. The Sheriff said Patterson even shaved his head to alter his appearance and to avoid leaving behind traceable hair at the scene.

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A server at the Buckhorn Bar & Grill -- Gordon's busiest eatery -- recalled spotting Patterson inside the restaurant on occasion, eating at the bar on weekend nights following the October abduction of Closs.

"He was in here with the rest of us like everything was totally normal," said the server, who declined to be named. "Nothing seemed out of the ordinary."

"To think that she (Jayme) was being hidden all this time is unimaginable," the employee told Fox News. "The biggest question we have right now is, 'Why Jayme'?"

Patrons at the restaurant described Gordon as a town of only a few hundred year-round residents. Many of the cabins are second homes.

After her escape, Jayme was interviewed by authorities, given medical treatment and then cleared to be reunited with her family. The Closses have since released several pictures that show the young, red-haired teenager smiling with her family and their dogs.

“People can’t believe she’s smiling,” Engelhardt told Fox News. “But guess what. She’s alive and she’s with her favorite person besides her parents, and that’s her aunt.”

This Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 photo shows Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt, Jennifer Smith in Barron, Wis.

This Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 photo shows Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt, Jennifer Smith in Barron, Wis. (Jennifer Smith)

Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Naiberg Smith, posted to Facebook that “Jayme had a pretty good night sleep it was great to know she was next to me all night what a great feeling to have her home…It will be a long road but we are family strong and we love this little girl so much!!"

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On Thursday, police say that Jayme successfully made a run for it while Patterson was not home. The cabin-like house from which Jayme escaped is roughly 70 miles north of Jayme’s hometown of Barron. The town of Gordon is largely a wooded area for getaways and is extremely remote with dense forests, minimal foot traffic and lighting—a remote place where a person could easily be concealed.

“We know the truth and they had nothing to do with it. Police proved it on Thursday when they told us who he was.”

— Kelly Engelhardt, Jayme Closs' aunt

Engelhardt told Fox News she’s “not surprised” Jayme escaped.

“Her mother was an angel but her father was tough. She got that from him,” Engelhardt said.

After Jayme escaped Patterson’s house, she approached Jeanne Nutter, who happened to be nearby walking her dog, according to police. Nutter, a former child protective worker, immediately rushed Jayme into a neighbor’s house for safety.

“When I first saw her I thought, oh did she run away, did somebody just dump her off here? Because she didn’t have a coat or gloves,” Nutter said. “She told me who she was and then that’s when I said this child needs to be someplace safe and you need to get her there now.”

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Neighbors said Jayme was wearing an oversized top and shoes that were too large for her, indicating she might have grabbed anything within reach to stay warm as she mustered up the courage to escape the house where she was being held.

Jayme identified Patterson to the neighbors and described what his car looked like. In a matter of about ten minutes, police said they spotted Patterson driving around looking for Jayme and took him into custody.

Engelhardt told Fox News the family is “looking for more answers” and moving forward she plans on being at every court proceeding for Patterson. “Now it’s about getting him the harshest sentence possible,” she said.

The family is not sure when Jayme might get back to a normal routine or return to school.

“She will decide. She’s a strong kid,” Engelhardt said.

The entire Barron region vigorously held services and rallied behind Jayme’s safe return. The theme for Jayme’s campaign was lime green. The bright color could be seen all over the Barron community, online, and now is being used to celebrate the teenager’s return. The city of Minneapolis even lit up one of its downtown bridges in the green color in honor of Jayme, law enforcement and all those who supported her.

The I-35W St. Anthony Falls bridge in Minneapolis was lit to honor Jayme Closs.

The I-35W St. Anthony Falls bridge in Minneapolis was lit to honor Jayme Closs. (MDOT/Kristi Loovek)

The Superintendent of the Barron Area School District, Diane Trembley, addressed the community after Jayme’s return.

“Will our district be holding a celebration or ceremony in the community of any sort? All I can say at this time is you better believe it," she said. "Jayme, we missed you and we are so grateful you are home.”