During the promised second press briefing of the day, Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald again faced reporters with an updated version of the developments in the Jayme Closs case that so miraculously resolved itself last evening, resulting in Jayme's recovery and the arrest of a suspect, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson from Gordon, Wisconsin.
There is both good news and bad news coming out of the Barron County Sheriff's Department, but the very best news of all is that Jayme has been 'reunified' with her aunt and has been released from the hospital. That seems to indicate that her physical injuries were not severe. Jayme will continue to receive support and counseling to help her deal with any of the other effects of her ordeal.
Sheriff Fitzgerald reiterated that there is absolutely NO evidence that the Closs family knew Patterson before the October 15th incident, and that the sole purpose of his coming to their home that night was to abduct Jayme - NOT to kill the parents - as many people speculated.
Search warrants were served today for the suspect's home and his vehicle. Sheriff Fitzgerald reports that a shotgun has been found that they believe was used not only in the murders of James, 56, and Denise Closs, 46 but to shoot through the front door to gain access to the interior of the home. They are awaiting final forensic analysis to confirm this information.
Investigators also found evidence that Patterson had gone to extreme lengths to prevent leaving evidence behind - shaving his head was given as an example.
They also revealed that Patterson was not at home when Jayme managed to escape and was out looking for her in his car when authorities apprehended him Thursday evening. Patterson has no criminal record, but they are following up on a tip that he has a sibling who does.
No further details were given on that bit of information; the F.B.I. is looking into it at this time. They repeated from the earlier press briefing that they are not looking for any other suspects.
Jayme was spent the day in the hospital where she spoke with investigators and was reunited with an aunt with whom she will reportedly live. (pictured, above, with Jayme) Reunions with other family members will occur at a later time, including her pup, Molly.
Patterson will make his first court appearance on Monday, January 15th in which he is expected to be charged with two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of kidnapping.
Sheriff Fitzgerald said this would be the last press briefing. The next bit of information will come when the criminal complaint is filed on Monday; it is expected to reveal details that the Sheriff is not at liberty to share at this time.
Patterson is currently incarcerated in the Barron County Jail and has been there 'without incident' since last night.
As we go into the weekend, let's take a moment to count our own blessings and to say a prayer of thanksgiving that this story has a somewhat happy ending. Jayme is alive and will have the chance to grow up and live a long life as we had always hoped she would.
And as one Twitter user put so eloquently:
"With faith, prayer, persistence, and hope our community, nation, and the world was given a miracle 🦋. As we continue to pray for Jayme and her family as they heal, recover and also grieve the loss of Jim and Denise. Welcome home."