By Reg Chapman

GORDON, Wis. (WCCO) – Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs found her way to freedom by asking a woman who was walking her dog for help after escaping the home where she was being held.

The barricades continue to block access to the road Jayme ran down to escape from the man who held her captive for 88 days. It’s a remote area where homes are spread far apart and you can drive for miles without seeing another person.

From the air, you can see how remote Gordon, Wisconsin, is. The home where 21-year-old Jake Patterson is believed to have held Jayme Closs is surrounded by woods.

“He was like 11, 12 when I would have had him as a student,” Kristin Kasinkas said.

Jake Thomas Patterson (credit: Barron County)

Kasinkas was one of Jake Patterson’s middle school teachers. It was her house Jayme Closs was brought to after she escaped to seek help.

Kasinkas says she did not know her former student lived close by.

“Didn’t even know he was in the neighborhood,” she said.

About five buildings make up the core of what could be considered downtown Gordon. People here did not want to talk on camera but did say they never saw Patterson in town.

Others who did see him occasionally say he kept to himself – they called him a hermit.

Tall trees and lakes make up a big part of the area, and cell service is spotty.

Folks say they go days, weeks and sometimes months without seeing their neighbors.

Jeanne Nutter says Jayme is the hero in this story. Though Nutter took Jayme to a safe place after she asked for help, she believes she saved herself by making a run for it when Patterson left the house.

If she had not taken that chance, some believe she would still be missing.

Reg Chapman

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