Jayme Closs vowed to never let her kidnapper take her freedom or her spirit from her in a powerful statement read at the sentencing hearing of Jake Patterson, the 21-year-old Wisconsin man who pleaded guilty to abducting 13-year-old Closs, killing her parents and then holding her captive until she escaped.
“I was smarter,” Closs said through a statement read in court on her behalf Friday. “I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not. Jake Patterson can never take my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t.”
Patterson pleaded guilty in March to two counts of first-degree intentional homicide for shooting and killing Closs’ parents on Oct. 15, 2018, and one count of kidnapping for taking the couple’s only child from her home in rural Barron, Wisconsin.
He faces up to life in prison.
“I was brave and he was not. He can never take away my spirit,” Closs said in a statement read by an attorney on her behalf Friday. “He can’t ever change me or take away who I am. He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not.”
“Jake Patterson will never have any power over me,” the teen said. “I feel like I have some power over him because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to him. For 88 days he tried to steal me and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.”
Closs’ relatives, including aunt Sue Allard and cousin Lindsey Smith, also spoke in court Friday, urging the judge to sentence Patterson to the maximum for each count.
“My sister and brother-in-law were such loving and giving and beautiful people,” Allard said at Friday’s sentencing. “It was senseless.”
Jake Patterson can never take my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t.
“Oct. 14 was a typical family event with nothing but happiness,” said Smith. “We spent the next 88 days living in fear, pain and not knowing what happened to our family.”
“On the 88th day we were finally told that Jayme would be coming home,” Smith said. “We were so glad that Jayme was home… but you took so much from Jayme. You took her parents, her home, her childhood and all of her happiness.”
“You took so much from all of us. You took my aunt and uncle from me,” Smith said. “The last moments of my aunt’s life were the worst and scariest moments of her life. No one should leave this earth in such a horrible way.”
I was brave and he was not. He can never take away my spirit. He can’t ever change me or take away who I am. He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life and he will not.
Patterson held Closs captive in his home in Gordon, Wisconsin, for 88 days, until she escaped on Jan. 10, according to court documents.
Patterson confessed to investigators that he targeted Closs after seeing her board a school bus, according to a criminal complaint.
After Patterson fled with the girl to his home, he created a space for Closs under his bed. When he would leave the house, he would put barbells and free weights around the bed so she couldn’t escape, according to the complaint.