US man arrested after girl (13) found alive three months after her parents were killed

Jayme Closs escaped on foot from a cabin she was held in

US man arrested after girl (13) found alive three months after her parents were killed

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald speaks during a news conference about 13-year-old Jayme Closs. Picture by: Jerry Holt/AP/Press Association Images

Police in the US state of Wisconsin have charged a 21-year-old man over the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl and the murders of both her parents.

Authorities said they arrested Jake Thomas Patterson as Jayme Closs, who had been missing for three months after her parents were killed in their home, was found.

Police had been searching for the girl since October, when they discovered someone had broken into her family home and fatally shot her parents, but the teenager was nowhere to be seen.

Investigators believe the suspect killed the couple in order to abduct Jayme.

The girl managed to escape on foot from the cabin she was held in and was found wandering in the small town of Gordon, 65 miles north of her hometown of Barron, by a woman who was out walking her dog.

The woman began knocking on a neighbour's door shouting: "This is Jayme Closs, call 911!"

The suspect was arrested and taken into custody 11 minutes later, police said.

Mugshot of Jake Thomas Patterson | Image: Barron County Sheriff's Department

The girl was reported to be skinny and dirty, wearing shoes too big for her feet.

FBI special agent in charge Justin Tolomeo told reporters: "We're so pleased to stand here today and celebrate Jayme's recovery... we often need a big break and it was Jayme herself who provided that."

He also thanked the Barron community for "never giving up on Jayme".

Speaking at a news conference, Diane Tremblay, the Barron Area School District superintendent, said it was a "glorious day" and that there was "so much love and hugs in our district" following 88 days of "hopes and prayers".

Barron County authorities believed the girl was likely abducted after she disappeared and maintained they were confident she was alive for the time she was missing.

Details of the case indicated that the teenager had been snatched minutes after an intruder came into her house and murdered her parents, damaging little else in the family home.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the suspect had taken "proactive steps" to hide his identity.

Image: Barron County Sheriff's Department

Peter Kaskinskas, who tried to make Jayme feel comfortable in the 20 minutes she was in their home, said she declined food and water and appeared "pretty flat" emotionally.

He said the girl said she did not know where she was or anything about Gordon, though it seemed she had been in the area for most of her disappearance.

Sue Allard, Jayme's aunt, told local media she could barely express her joy on hearing the news.

"Praise the Lord," she said. "It's the news we've been waiting on for three months. I can't wait to get my arms around her. I just can't wait."

"I honestly still think I'm dreaming right now. It was like I was seeing a ghost," Mr Kaskinskas told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "My jaw just went to the floor."

Barron, which has a population of around 645 people, is in a heavily forested region close to Lake Superior.

The town's mayor Ron Fladten said the news was a "great result" and that he had been "praying daily" for the safe return of Jayme.

"I hope that she's in good shape," he said. "She's no doubt been through just a terrible ordeal. I think everybody wishes her a good recovery and a happy life going into the future."

Reporting by Stephen McNeice/Jack Quann/IRN