Do Students Feel Safe After Kidnapping of 13 Year-Old Jayme Closs?


Ashleigh Stemple, Staff Writer

Jayme Closs was kidnapped from her rural home in Barron, Wisconsin on October 15th. Her parents, James and Denise Closs, were fatally shot in their house after Jayme’s captor, Jake Thomas Patterson, broke into the house by shooting open the door with a shotgun that he acquired from a family member.

According to People Magazine, once Patterson, 21 years old, kidnapped Jayme, he forced her into his family home in Gordon, Wisconsin, about 70 miles away from her house. Closs claimed that whenever Patterson would have friends or family over, he would push her under his twin-size bed and trap her under there by surrounding her with laundry bins and barbells. He would play loud music so his guests wouldn’t hear her. Patterson even hosted a Christmas party, his guests completely unaware of the kidnapped girl trapped underneath his bed. Occasionally, he would leave Closs for up to twelve hours without food, water, or access to the bathroom.

Jayme Closs escaped from Patterson once he left the house for several hours on January 10th. She forced her way through the heavy objects surrounding her, put Patterson’s shoes on, and ran out of the woods to a dog-walker, Jeanne Nutter (People).

The dog-walker stopped, led Jayme to a home near them, and told the woman inside, Kristin Kasinskas, to call the police while her husband, Peter Kasinskas, stood at the door with a gun. Once the authorities were called, they apprehended Patterson; he was driving around in the car Jayme had described, looking for the 13 year-old girl. When he got pulled over, he admitted to the crimes immediately, People Magazine reported.

Even though Patterson is in custody, parents in or near Barron, Wisconsin can’t help but fear for their children. Closs’s captor had no motive and only realized that he was going to kidnap her when he saw her boarding her school bus, which makes the kidnapping case that much more terrifying.

As proven by this horrific kidnapping, even the safest of neighborhoods could be susceptible to crime. The real question is: Do students feel safe in their communities, especially after this heinous felony was committed?

Amber Gulbin, a student at Forsyth Central High School, decided that the answer was no.

“Yes, I’ve been afraid that a child could be kidnapped in my neighborhood,” Gulbin answered. She believes that any child, no matter where they live, could be susceptible to being kidnapped if there continues to be a lack of awareness in the nation.

“I think that the amount of kidnappings in the U.S. could be reduced by increasing the public’s knowledge of the problem,” Gulbin added. “It won’t stop it, but I think it would definitely help.”

According to the FBI NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statistics, NCIC contained 88,089 missing persons reports in 2017. Juveniles that are under the age of 21 account for 46.6% of those records. Children and young adults make up almost half of all kidnappings as well as missing persons cases in the U.S.

Additionally, the rate of filed missings persons cases has increased .6% since 2016 (FBI NCIC). Kidnappings have been becoming more apparent and, while it may not be a rapid incline of crime, are becoming a problem in the U.S., as proven by Jayme Closs’s case.

Jayme Closs is a very lucky individual, proving her strength and will to escape from her captor’s grasp. She’s inspired many, and her case has brought awareness to this horrific problem within our nation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.