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Ex-kidnapping victims: Jayme Closs needs space, time to heal

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2018, file photo, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald speaks during a news conference about 13-year-old Jayme Closs who has been missing since her parents were found dead in their home in Barron, Wis. The northwest Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed has been found alive, authorities said Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Jayme Closs is safe and her captor is in jail, but what were the circumstances leading up to her escape and the arrest of the suspect?

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald talked to a throng of media Friday morning, giving the latest on the 13-year-old Closs, who had been missing for almost three months after her parents were murdered in their family home outside of Barron.

Closs escaped from a Douglas County cabin Thursday afternoon and was found by a woman walking her dog.

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, of the town of Gordon was arrested shortly after Jayme was found.

He's being held on tentative charges of two counts of homicide and one count of kidnapping. Formal charges are expected to be filed next week.

"This was a team effort from the beginning," Fitzgerald said. "We had a singular focus to bring Jayme home."

Fitzgerald said in the 88 days since the teen went missing Oct. 15, law enforcement followed up on thousands of tips and conducted numerous searches.

"We never gave up hope," the sheriff said.

The sheriff had to downplay hopes of her recovery earlier on Thursday, when social media posted information that she had been found in Walworth County in southeastern Wisconsin.

"Shortly after I posted that the Walworth County incident was false, I got a call from Douglas County saying Jayme was safe," Fitzgerald said.

Douglas County Sheriff Thomas Dalbec said his office got a 911 call about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, about a woman walking her dog being approached by a young female saying she was Closs.

"Deputies responded en masse," Dalbec said. "They identified her and took her into safekeeping."

A patrol sergeant found a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect's vehicle, pulled him over, and took him into custody.

Closs was taken to a hospital in Duluth/Superior and held overnight for observation. She was released Friday morning and was expected to be back in Barron later in the day.

"Jamie was taken against her will and held against her will," Fitzgerald said. "Suspect didn't have any contact with the family. He planned his actions and took many steps to hide his actions."

Patterson has no criminal history in either county or Wisconsin, the sheriff said.

"This was the will of a kid to survive," Fitzgerald said.

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