(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 shortly after Jayme Closs’ rescue on Thursday, but police have so far said little about what might have motivated him to target the girl and her parents. The parents were discovered shot dead in their home in October, sparking a massive search for the missing teen.
Patterson was due in Barron County Circuit Court at 3:30 p.m. CST (2130 GMT), according to court officials.
Closs had a joyous reunion with family members and her dog after her rescue, relatives told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.
“I was the first one she gave a hug to,” her grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told the show. “She hugged everybody that was there – we tried not to overwhelm her.”
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald hailed Closs as a hero on Friday after she escaped a house in the tiny town of Gordon, Wisconsin, 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’ public defenders, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, told reporters on Sunday they understood the emotions surrounding the case but would rely on the judicial system to treat Patterson fairly. They declined to comment when asked whether Patterson had confessed to police.
“We have a job to do, in terms of representing our client and protecting his rights and his interests, but we also understand the pain and emotion that has been generated within this community,” Jones said.
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.
Authorities said that Patterson had targeted Closs for kidnapping, but they had yet to determine why. He was unemployed and had no prior criminal record, investigators said.
A formal criminal complaint was expected to be filed on Monday, which could offer additional details that investigators have gleaned thus far.
Reporting by Joseph Ax and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Marguerita Choy