As new details continue to emerge in the gruesome kidnapping of Jayme Closs, a relative of the 13-year-old says she was ‘not prepared’ to learn the truth.
Countless questions weighed on Jodie Arnold’s mind in the months after the bodies of Denise, her cousin, and James Closs were found shot to death and their daughter went missing on October 15, 2018 in Barron, Wisconsin.
Now that Jayme has returned home and her alleged captor, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, is behind bars, Arnold is finding that the reality is far worse than she could have imagined.
‘I was not prepared,’ she told People.
As new details continue to emerge in the gruesome kidnapping of Jayme Closs, a relative of the 13-year-old’s mother Denise Closs (left) has said she was ‘not prepared’ to learn the truth. Jodie Arnold spent the almost-three months that Jayme was missing wondering what had occurred on the night of October 15, when Denise and her husband James (right) were found shot dead at their home, and their daughter was nowhere to be found. Now that Jayme has returned home and her alleged captor is behind bars, those questions are being answered
Jayme finally returned home to Barron, Wisconsin, after escaping from her captor’s lair on January 10, nearly three months after she witnessed her parents’ murder before being abducted in a case that gripped the nation. Pictured with relatives after her rescue, Jayme is recovering from the traumatic abduction and will live permanently with her aunt in Barron
Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was arrested on January 10 and has confessed to the murders and kidnapping. He is seen above during his first court appearance on Monday
The criminal complaint filed against Patterson details his confession to cops that he decided Jayme was ‘the girl he was going to take’ after a change sighting of her getting on the school bus when it stopped in front of him as he drove to work.
On the night of October 15, he stole his father’s shotgun, donned a balaclava face mask and two pairs of gloves and drove to the home to carry out his plan.
As he approached the front door under cover of darkness, Patterson saw Jayme’s father, James, standing in the large window.
Jayme told detectives that she had been woken by her dog Molly barking and noticed somebody coming up the driveway when she went to investigate.
She woke her parents and her father ‘went to the door to see what was going on.’
Patterson claimed that he yelled at James Closs to get on the ground but that he ‘kept shining a flashlight and looking outside’ while pounding on the door. Peering through the window, James Closs asked to see his badge – assuming he was law enforcement.
In that moment, Patterson said, he raised his shotgun, pointed it at James Closs’ head and pulled the trigger. James is described in the complaint as having ‘significant trauma to his face and head.’
After hearing the gunshots, Denise Closs called the police and took her daughter into the bathroom to hide.
Arnold said she had long hoped that her cousin’s death was quick, perhaps while she was sleeping.
She was horrified to learn that the 46-year-old spent her final moments in undeniable terror as she prayed that she and her daughter wouldn’t be discovered.
Patterson allegedly told investigators that he decided Jayme was ‘the girl he was going to take’ after a change sighting of her getting on the school bus when it stopped in front of him as he drove to work. On the night of October 15, he stole his father’s shotgun, donned a balaclava face mask and two pairs of gloves and drove to the home (above) to carry out his plan.
A massive manhunt was launched after police arrived at the Closs home four minutes after Denise called 911 and found the Jayme had disappeared
In a terrifying scene, Patterson shoved the bathroom door open and tore down the shower curtain, taking the rod with it and found Denise ‘with her arms wrapped around Jayme in a bear hug’.
Patterson told Denise to place black duct tape over her daughter’s mouth but when she ‘struggled to do that’ he put down his shotgun, took back the tape and wrapped it around Jayme’s mouth and head.
He made the teen stand up while he ‘took and placed [tape] around her wrists, with her palms together to restrain her hands and arms.’
Patterson then taped her ankles, removed her from the tub and, as she stood beside him, he took aim at her mother’s head and pulled the trigger.
‘Denise’s last thoughts were probably: “My daughter is next,”‘ Arnold said. ‘It makes me so heartbroken. It just wrecks me…
‘When somebody dies, it just feels a million times worse when their last thoughts are of utter despair and terror. I had been hoping it had happened so fast that it wasn’t time for her understand.’
Jayme’s face was plastered on billboards across Wisconsin as the desperate search dragged on
Arnold has been haunted by the gruesome, blood and brain-spattered scene described in the criminal complaint in the week since it was released. The gunshot to the head left Denise ‘with the rear backside of her head and skull plate completely removed and lying next to her body in the bathtub’.
‘I wanted to know. I had to know — to give myself some closure. Unfortunately, with some closure came a whole new level of terror for me as a mom,’ Arnold said.
‘I lock my doors at night, but that’s not good enough if somebody wants in,’ she continued. ‘[Denise] did everything she could. They were barricaded in the bathroom hiding.
‘When you’re in your house, you do feel safe. That guy had a mission and there was nothing stopping that. Mothers everywhere, are feeling extra protective of their kids.’
She also pointed out the grim reality that even if she laid down her life to protect her own children, as Denise and James did, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be safe.
‘Yes, I will die for my kids, but then you realize that doesn’t mean my kids are going to be okay,’ she said.
Jayme was found at the Eau Claire Acres estate near the town of Gordon, which is about 70 miles away from her home in Barron where she was abducted
The image above shows the cabin in rural Wisconsin where Patterson allegedly held Jayme
After the cold-blooded murders, Patterson threw Jayme in the trunk of his car and drove her to his come in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 70 miles away.
For nearly three months he kept her in a space under his twin-sized bed and concealed her from view. She tried to escape at least twice, leading Patterson to throw a tantrum, hitting the wall and screaming to make her fearful to try to leave again.
On the day of her escape he told her he was leaving for a few hours. She stumbled out of the home on Thursday January 10 and approached a woman walking her dog in Eau Claire Acres in Gordon telling her she was kidnapped and her abductor killed her parents. The woman took her to a neighbor’s house where they called police.
Patterson was arrested the same day and charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary, according to the complaint. He is being held at Barron County Jail.
Arnold watched his court Monday court appearance on the news. She said: ‘That was hard — just to see this guy. You feel like it’s happening all over again.’
Patterson was arrested the same day and charged with two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary, according to the complaint. He is being held at Barron County Jail
Jayme is now living with her aunt Jennifer Smith (pictured together) in Barron