A Wisconsin man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for killing the parents of 13-year-old Jayme Closs and abducting the teen for nearly three months.
Jake Patterson, 21, pleaded guilty in March to fatally shooting James and Denise Closs in their home last October, kidnapping the young girl, and keeping her captive in his remote cabin outside Gordon, Wisconsin.
Jayme managed to escape from the cabin in January after a horrifying 88-day ordeal during which she was forced her to hide under Patterson's bed for up to 12 hours at a time without food, water, or bathroom breaks, according to court documents.
"You are the embodiment of evil," Judge James Babler told Patterson during the sentencing hearing. "There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of the most dangerous people to walk on this planet."
During Friday's emotional court hearing, several members of Jayme's family spoke about the devastating impact Patterson's actions had on their lives and the constant fear they lived in since James and Denise were murdered.
While Jayme was not present in court, her attorney read an emotional and powerful statement from her.
"Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad," her statement said.
She said that Patterson took away the protection and love of her parents and the safety of her own home. The young girl, who used to love going out with friends, going to school, and dancing, wrote that she now gets "scared and anxious" to go out in public.
"He took all those things away from me too," she wrote. "But he can't take my freedom. He thought he could own me, but he was wrong. I was stronger. I will always have my freedom and he will not.
"He can never take my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn't. I was brave and he was not.
"He can't stop me from being happy," Jayme wrote. "He couldn't take my power from me."
Patterson addressed the court, saying he was sorry.
"I'll just say that I would do, like, absolutely anything to take back what I did," he said while crying. "I would die. I would do absolutely anything to bring them back. I don't care about me. I'm just so sorry. That's all."
After his arrest, Patterson told authorities that he saw Jayme get on her school bus one day as he was driving to work at a cheese factory.
He said that he had no idea who she was, but that when he saw her, he “knew that was the girl he was going to take,” according to court documents.
He told authorities that he put quite a bit of thought into planning the young girl's abduction, and that he shaved his face and entire head to ensure that he did not leave DNA or hair at the scene of the crime.
He later said he did not know the names of Jayme or her parents until after he kidnapped her and watched news reports of the murders.
On the night of her abduction, the girl woke her parents up after seeing someone drive up to their house in Barron, Wisconsin. When she and her father saw a man with a shotgun standing outside the door, she and her mother hid in a bathtub inside one of the bathrooms. She told authorities that she heard a gunshot and knew that her father had been killed.
Patterson then broke down the bathroom door and ripped off the shower curtain, behind which Jayme and Denise were hiding.
He later told police that he saw Denise sitting in the bathtub with her arms wrapped around her daughter in a bear hug; he taped the girl's mouth and head and bound her wrists and ankles before shooting Denise in the head while Jayme stood next to him.
He dragged her out of the house and put her in the trunk of his car, passing three squad cars that were on the way to the Closs residence. He later told authorities that he would have most likely shot the police officers if they had stopped him because he was determined to take her that night.
At his cabin, Patterson forced Jayme to hide under his bed for hours at a time and warned her that bad things would happen to her if she tried to get out, especially when he had family members and friends over to his house. He stacked the bed with plastic totes that had weights pushed against them so that she would not be able to remove them. He also turned up the music in the house to make sure she could not be heard.
She later told authorities that once Patterson got mad at her about something and hit her “really hard” on her back with a handle used to clean blinds and that it hurt “really bad,” according to court documents.
Patterson told authorities that he would have angry outbursts when he thought she was trying to escape and that she feared him enough that she wouldn’t leave when he was not at home.
On Jan. 10, Patterson told Jayme that he was going to be out of the cabin for five to six hours and forced her to hide under his bed. However, the teen managed to push the totes and weights away from the bed and crawl out. She put on Patterson's shoes and walked out of the cabin, where she met Jeanne Nutter, a former social worker who was walking her dog. Nutter took her to another neighbor’s house where they called 911.
Patterson was arrested when he went looking for Jayme in his vehicle and told the arresting officer, "I did it."
In a Feb. 28 letter Patterson wrote to Minnesota KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse, he said that he had "huge amounts" of remorse and regret for the things he did, adding, "I can't believe I did this."
He said the reason for doing it was "complicated."
"At the time I was really pissed," he wrote. "I didn’t 'want' to."
He also apologized to the young girl in the letter, writing, "No one will believe or can even imagine how sorry I am for hurting Jayme this much. Can’t express it."
He dismissed investigators' allegations that he had "thoroughly" planned the murders and abduction.
"This was mostly on impulse. I don’t think like a serial killer," he wrote.
After she was rescued, Jayme's family commended the teen's courage in the face of her harrowing ordeal.
"The thing I wanted to express to her immediately, and we all do, is the pride we have in her for doing this," her aunt Lynn Closs told CBS This Morning. "For getting out. For making it. For the power that she has.
"That she took the power away from this man, that she did this, I mean, it's just incredible," Lynn Closs said.