(Reuters) – The man accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old Wisconsin girl after murdering her parents is due in court on Monday to face charges, days after the teen ended her 88-day-ordeal by escaping the rural home where she was held hostage.
FILE PHOTO: Jake Patterson, 21, charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and two counts of first-degree murder for murdering her parents, appears in a booking photo provided by the Barron County Sheriff’s Department in Barron, Wisconsin, U.S., January 11, 2019. Barron County Sheriff’s Department /Handout via REUTERS
Jake Patterson, 21, was arrested hours after Jayme Closs’ escape on Thursday but police have so far said little about what might have motivated him to target the girl and her parents. The parents’ bodies were discovered in their home in October, sparking a massive months-long search for the missing teen.
Patterson was due in Barron County Circuit Court at 3:30 p.m. CST (2130 GMT), ABC affiliate KSTP-TV in Minneapolis reported.
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald hailed Closs as a hero on Friday after she escaped a house in the tiny town of Gordon, Wisconsin, where she had been held captive, about 60 miles (100 km) north of her home in Barron.
Thousands of volunteers and hundreds of law enforcement officers had searched the small town of Barron after James and Denise Closs were found shot dead in their home on Oct. 15, their front door blown open with a shotgun, their daughter gone.
Closs’s attorneys, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, issued a statement to local media over the weekend that expressed sympathy for the community, but also asked that Patterson’s legal rights be respected.
“This is a very tragic situation,” KSTP reported the statement as saying.
“There is a substantial amount of information, interest and emotion involved in this case. Mr. Patterson’s legal team will be relying on the integrity of our judicial system to insure that everyone’s rights are protected and respected.”
The statement, issued ahead of Patterson’s appearance in court, neither admitted or denied guilt.
Glynn and Jones could not be reached for immediate comment on Monday.
Closs managed to flee from her captivity in the remote northern part of the state when Patterson was not at home, and was found by a woman walking her dog on Thursday afternoon, Fitzgerald said. Patterson was arrested soon afterward.
Authorities said that Patterson had targeted Closs for kidnapping, but they had yet to determine why.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Frances Kerry