After pleading guilty Wednesday to kidnapping 13-year-old Jayme Closs and killing her parents in October, Jake Patterson had one message as he left the Wisconsin courtroom: “Bye, Jayme.”
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of intentional homicide and one count of kidnapping as part of a deal with the Barron County District Attorney’s Office.
Patterson—who was arrested in January after allegedly holding Closs hostage for 88 days—now faces life in prison, having waived his right to a trial.
“We represent him, we work for him, and this is what he wants,” his attorney, Richard Jones, said in Barron County Court Wednesday. “[Patterson] has wanted to enter a plea since we met him.”
An orange-jumpsuit clad Patterson tearfully announced his guilty plea, pausing briefly before admitting to kidnapping the teenager. As he walked out of the courtroom on Wednesday, he reportedly turned and said, “Bye, Jayme,” to the cameras.
Earlier this month, Patterson wrote a letter to local Minnesota TV station KARE-TV, confessing that he intended to plead guilty because he didn’t want the Closs family to “worry about a trial.”
“I can’t believe I did this,” he wrote.
Prosecutors allege that on October 15, 2018, Patterson went to the Closs’ home in Baron with the intention of “taking” the 13-year-old girl after seeing her at a bus stop. He first fatally shot James Closs, Jayme’s father, then searched the house, finding Jayme and her mother, Denise, hiding in a bathroom.
Patterson allegedly fatally shot Denise right in front of Jayme before throwing the teenager in the trunk of his car and driving to his remote home in Gordon about an hour north.
Patterson allegedly held Closs hostage in his home for 88 days, often forcing the teen to stay under a bed for hours to avoid being seen. To keep her from trying to escape, the 21-year-old would tell Closs “bad things could happen to her,” if she moved, according to the complaint.
On Jan. 10, Patterson informed Closs he was leaving for a few hours, giving her the opportunity to push away the weighted bins that her kidnapper had used to block her under the bed. She escaped wearing a pair of his Nike shoes. Walking aimlessly, Closs eventually ran into Jeanne Nutter, a social worker who was walking her dog. Nutter immediately recognized the teenager and called the authorities.
“The girl just came out of the woods,” Forrest, Nutter’s husband, previously told The Daily Beast. “She [Jeanne] kept her composure and took the girl to a safe place and called the sheriff’s department. She called and said they found Jayme and she was going to the hospital.”
Patterson was arrested shortly after and allegedly confessed in detail during a police interview.
“I did it,” Patterson told police, according to the complaint.
Patterson’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for May 24.