MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The nightmare for the Closs family and city of Barron, Wisconsin is almost over. Jake Patterson pleaded guilty to kidnapping Jayme Closs and murdering her parents, Denise and James.
The plea means there will not be a lengthy trial in the case, and Patterson could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The past six months have rocked the community of Barron to its core. There is no happy ending to all they’ve been through, but on Wednesday there is some relief.
It’s a town of 3,425 — small in size, big in heart.
Barron rallied around Jayme Closs from the beginning. When her return seemed impossible, they believed.
“Very emotional, lots of ups and downs. In a lot of ways I feel it’s brought community together,” Gabbi Griffith said. “I think it’s good he pleaded guilty but it’s just terrible and I just feel for Jayme and I wish her the best moving forward.”
It’s also torn their hearts apart, hearing a young man confess to taking a little girl and killing her parents, a crime Patterson officially pleaded guilty to this afternoon.
“I’m really happy. It’s going to bring closure to family, eventually, the quicker the better,” Shelley Strenke, of Cumberland, said.
“I think it’s great. It’s going to save the taxpayers,” Cumberland’s Jim Briese said. “He did it. Why not plead guilty?”
Many still shared concerns about how Jayme Closs will continue on with her life. Another example of support is that the town of Barron is holding a fundraiser to help Jayme’s aunt and uncle pay for her care and do some renovations their home.