GORDON, Wis. (WCCO) — The search for Jayme Closs came to a dramatic end Thursday when the 13-year-old freed herself and fled to safety. She then encountered three people who helped her make contact with 911.
WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle spoke with them Friday afternoon near where Jayme escaped in Gordon, Wisconsin.
Jeanne Nutter was out for a walk with her dog when the teen the country had been searching for told her she needed help. Nutter felt she walked her dog Henry at just the right time. Moments after stepping outside, Jayme Closs approached her.
“She didn’t have coats or gloves on and when she told me who she was I figured she must’ve left in a hurry,” Nutter said.
She took Jayme Closs to the closest home to the surprise of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas.
“It was our neighbor with her dog pounding on the door, the dog kind of busts in and then Jeanne walks Jayme in and says ‘This is Jayme Closs. Call 911.’ My jaw about hit the floor,” Peter Kasinskas said.
“It’s a miracle, it’s an absolute miracle,” he added.
“We’ve seen her picture a million times around, she looked exactly the same as she did in her picture – a little bit thinner – and then she looked really tired, like she’s been fighting a battle for weeks,” Kristin Kasinskas said.
They immediately called 911. Jayme provided information about the suspect, 21-year-old Jake Patterson. Police arrested him 10 minutes later.
“She told us that she was hidden when other people were there, when other people were at the house, but she was hidden and only Jake knew she was Jayme Closs. She didn’t go into any detail about that, but she did say to me and to Jeanne that Jake killed her parents and took her,” Kristin Kasinskas said.
Jayme told them she didn’t know Patterson before she was taken. They did their best to stay calm and reassure Jayme she was going home.
“‘You’re going to be safe, everything’s going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.’ I just kept saying that,” Nutter said.
The chance meeting has impacted all of them.
“I thought she was not with us anymore and when I saw her on the couch I just said, ‘I’m so happy to see you.’ That’s all I could think to say to her,” Peter Kasinskas said.
Kristin Kasinskas taught suspect Jake Patterson in middle school. She made the connection as soon as Jayme told her he was her captor. She said at that time he was smart and a good student.
They said they kept the rest of the conversation light, and gave Jayme a blanket to take with her to the hospital, all while in admiration of her courage.
“Just to get out of her situation after being there for three months, that’s amazing. She must’ve planned it out, something, found some way she could get out a door whatever she did. So, she was the one that got herself out so we were just the ones that got her the help she needed, that’s all we did,” Peter Kasinskas said.
Patterson is being held on two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of kidnapping. Authorities say he specifically targeted Jayme and took her from her home against her will.