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Jayme Closs suspect had 'absolutely' no contact with family before killings, kidnapping, aunt says

The man accused of kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents in October had "absolutely" no contact with the family before the brutal slayings, her aunt told Fox News, as the first glimpse of the home where the teenager was allegedly held for months was revealed on Sunday.

Authorities in northern Wisconsin removed the barricade blocking the house in rural Gordon on Sunday morning, where authorities say brave 13-year-old Jayme Closs escaped captivity last Thursday.

Investigators had closed off the entire neighborhood for days as they carefully gathered evidence inside the home of Jayme’s suspected captor, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson. So far, police have not given any details on what type of conditions the house might contain.

The home where Closs was allegedly held captive has two structures -- a two-story house and then a two car garage with what appears to be a boat covered by tarps.

The property also has a trampoline and swing in the backyard, according to a review by Fox News.

Police also have not commented on what type of physical or mental abuse Jayme might have suffered while in captivity. Jayme's aunt, Kelly Engelhardt, told Fox News the family is “not asking” Jayme questions right now.

Patterson is being held on murder and kidnapping charges and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Police said they recovered a shotgun that is consistent with the gun used on Oct. 15 to blast through the front door of the Closs home and murder 56-year-old James and 46-year-old Denise Closs.

As the horrifying case continues to make headlines her aunt insists that her niece and the Closs family does not know Patterson.

“We know the truth and they had nothing to do with it,” Engelhardt told Fox News. “Police proved it on Thursday when they told us who he was.”

Engelhardt added there was “absolutely” no contact between anyone in the Closs family and the alleged killer. The Barron County Sheriff, Chris Fitzgerald, backs up the family’s claim stating that so far there is no traceable communication between Patterson and the Closses. But, Fitzgerald said that Patterson has some type of connection to Barron—where he allegedly carried out his crime.

The baffling case begs many eerie questions—including how long Patterson might have been stalking Jayme and her family while crafting his plan from afar.

“The suspect had specific intentions to kidnap Jayme and went to great lengths to prepare to take her,” Fitzgerald said at a press conference. The Sheriff said Patterson even shaved his head to alter his appearance and to avoid leaving behind traceable hair at the scene.

After her escape, Jayme was interviewed by authorities, given medical treatment and then cleared to be reunited with her family. The Closses have since released several pictures that show the young, red-haired teenager smiling with her family and their dogs.

“People can’t believe she’s smiling,” Engelhardt told Fox News. “But guess what. She’s alive and she’s with her favorite person besides her parents, and that’s her aunt.”

Jayme’s aunt, Jennifer Naiberg Smith, posted to Facebook that “Jayme had a pretty good night sleep it was great to know she was next to me all night what a great feeling to have her home…It will be a long road but we are family strong and we love this little girl so much!!"

On Thursday, police say that Jayme successfully made a run-for-it while Patterson was not home. The cabin-like house from which Jayme escaped is roughly 70 miles north of Jayme’s hometown of Barron. The town of Gordon is largely a wooded area for getaways and is extremely remote with dense forests, minimal foot traffic and lighting—a remote place where a person could easily be concealed.

“We know the truth and they had nothing to do with it. Police proved it on Thursday when they told us who he was.”
— Kelly Engelhardt, Jayme Closs' aunt

Engelhardt told Fox News she’s “not surprised” Jayme escaped.

“Her mother was an angel but her father was tough. She got that from him,” Engelhardt said.

After Jayme escaped Patterson’s house, she approached Jeanne Nutter, who happened to be nearby walking her dog, according to police. Nutter, a former child protective worker, immediately rushed Jayme into a neighbor’s house for safety.

“When I first saw her I thought, oh did she run away, did somebody just dump her off here? Because she didn’t have a coat or gloves,” Nutter said. “She told me who she was and then that’s when I said this child needs to be someplace safe and you need to get her there now.”

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