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Complaint: Kidnapping suspect kept Wisconsin girl under bed

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Amy Forliti and Todd Richmond, The Associated Press


Published Tuesday, January 15, 2019 12:56AM EST

Warning: This story contains disturbing details.

BARRON, Wis. — For nearly three months, 13-year-old Jayme Closs was forced to hide in a 2 1/2-foot space beneath her kidnapper’s bed, going without food, water or a bathroom for hours, too terrified to flee from a man she knew had fatally shot both of her parents.

But when Jake Thomas Patterson left the remote cabin on the 88th day of her captivity, she finally made a break for freedom, authorities said. She put on Patterson’s sneakers so hastily that they ended up on the wrong feet. After a neighbour called 911, Patterson was soon captured as he drove around the rural area searching for her.

“She’s 13 years old, and if you read the criminal complaint, you can see the amount of control that he was exerting over her,” Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said. “And at some point, she found it within herself at 13 years old to say, ‘I’m going to get myself out of this situation.’ I think it’s incredible.”

The complaint filed Monday offered the most detailed account yet of the attack on the Closs couple and the cruel conditions under which their daughter was held.

Patterson, 21, was charged Monday with two counts of intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. A judge set his bail at $5 million cash. Prosecutors say more charges could come later.

His defence attorneys, Charles Glynn and Richard Jones, have said they might seek a change of venue.

“It’s been an emotional time for this community and a difficult time for this community. We don’t take that lightly. But we have a job to do in protecting our client,” Jones said.

Patterson’s relatives, including his father, Patrick, declined to comment after his initial court hearing.

The suspect grew up an hour north of Barron, which is about 90 miles (144 kilometres) northeast of Minneapolis. He graduated from high school in May 2015 and joined the Marines. He lasted a month before he washed out after failing to meet “expectations and standards,” a Marine spokeswoman said. She did not elaborate.

According to the complaint:

Patterson was working at a cheese factory west of Barron when he stopped behind a school bus on his way to work and saw Jayme getting on. He decided then that she “was the girl he was going to take.”

He made two trips to her home meaning to kidnap her but broke off both attempts because he thought too many people were at the house. He returned to the home a third time on Oct. 15.

Dressed almost entirely in black and wearing a face mask and gloves, he armed himself with a shotgun. He told detectives he attached stolen license plates to his car so police would not be able to track him. He disabled the dome light, removed a cord that allowed the trunk to be opened from inside and coasted down the Closs driveway with his lights off just before 1 a.m.

Jayme told police that her dog began to bark. She woke her parents. Her father went to the front door while she and her mother hid in the bathroom, hugging each other in the bathtub with the shower curtain pulled closed.

Hearing a shotgun blast, Jayme said she knew her father was dead. Patterson told investigators he shot James Closs through the front door, then blew the lock apart with a second blast.

He battered down the door to the bathroom, then pulled out a roll of black duct tape and demanded Denise Closs tape her daughter’s mouth shut. When Denise struggled to do it, he took the tape from her and did it himself. He taped the girl’s hands behind her back and taped her ankles together, pulled her out of the bathroom and then shot her mother in the head, the complaint said.

The entire attack took four minutes, he said, according to the complaint.

Patterson dragged Jayme outside, nearly slipping in the blood on the floor. He pulled her across the yard and threw her in his trunk. Squad cars racing to the Closs residence passed him on the highway. Jayme told police she could hear the sirens. He told detectives he would have opened fire if officers had tried to stop him.

He took her to his cabin in Gordon, a township of 645 people in thickly forested Douglas County. He told police he ordered a weeping Jayme to strip and dress in his sister’s pyjamas, saying he had to get rid of the evidence. He then threw her clothes into a fireplace in the cabin’s basement.

It’s unclear what Patterson may have done to her over the months she spent in the cabin. Prosecutors have not charged him with sexual assault, and the charging documents do not say he ever attempted that.

He told investigators that whenever he left the cabin or people visited him, he forced Jayme to crawl into the narrow space under his twin bed. He slid tote boxes and weights against the side of the bed so she could not see out and to make it harder for her to wriggle free.

He said Jayme tried to get out twice. The first time he screamed and banged the wall and made her so scared that he thought she would never try it again. Whenever he left the house, he told her “bad things would happen” if she tried to leave. During the Christmas holidays he left, forcing Jayme to endure 12 hours under the bed without a bathroom break, according to the complaint.

On Thursday he left again. He returned to find Jayme gone. He found her tracks and was out looking for her when police stopped him .

Patterson is due back in court on Feb. 6.

——

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report.

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Federal Budget 2021: Ottawa adds $1B to broadband fund for rural, remote communities

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The federal government will add $1 billion to a fund for improving high-speed communications in rural and remote areas of Canada, bringing the total to $2.75 billion by 2026, the Liberals said Monday in their first full budget since the pandemic began last year.

The money is going to the Universal Broadband Fund, which is designed to support the installation of “backbone” infrastructure that connects underserved communities to high-speed internet.

It’s one of many government and private-sector initiatives that have gained urgency since the pandemic began, as Canadians became more dependent on internet service for applications ranging from e-learning to daily business operations.

Ottawa says the additional money will keep it on track to have high-speed broadband in 98 per cent of the country by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030.

Money spent on high-speed communications will be good for a recovering economy, said Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, a non-partisan think-tank.

The latest data from Statistics Canada says there were about five million people working from home during the pandemic, up from about two million prior to that, Antunes said in an interview.

“That’s a quarter or so of the workforce,” he added. “And I think a fair number of those people are going to continue to work from home, at least in some part-time way.”

Improved connections to high-speed broadband and mobile communications will add to the productive capacity of the economy overall, especially as it reaches beyond Canada’s cities, Antunes said.

He said there’s been a “real issue” with economic growth outside major urban centres and the improved connectivity “is something that can help stimulate that.”

The Universal Broadband Fund was initially mentioned in the 2019 budget, though specifics were not available until last November’s fiscal update.

The $1-billion top-up to the broadband fund announced today is in addition to $1.75 billion promised to the fund by the federal government’s November fiscal update.

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COVID-19: What you need to know for April 19

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Provincewide

  • Per today’s government report, there are 4,447 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 421,442 since the pandemic began; 2,202 people are in hospital, 755 of them in intensive care, and 516 on ventilators. To date, 7,735 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 40 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 36 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 127 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government’s report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 7 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 66,897 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 3,904,778 since December 2020. 3,212,768 people have received only one dose, and 346,005 people have received both doses.

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Federal budget 2021 highlights: Child care, recovery benefits, OAS increases – everything you need to know

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The federal government’s first budget in more than two years certainly looks the part: At 739 pages, it is a hefty document chock full of billions in new spending.

Those funds will be spread among a number of key groups – students, seniors, parents and small-business owners, to name a few – as Ottawa looks to bolster Canada’s recovery from COVID-19 but also plan for life beyond the pandemic.

To that end, the deficit is projected to hit $354.2-billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which just ended – better than expected about five months ago, given the economy’s resilience over the winter months. It is estimated to fall to $154.7-billion this fiscal year, before dropping further in the years to come as pandemic spending recedes from view.

Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s budget.

The budget outlines tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for a national child-care program, a promise the Liberal Party has made in some form since the early 1990s. Child-care supports became a point of national debate during pandemic lockdowns as parents with young children struggled to juggle work and family responsibilities.

In total, the government proposes spending as much as $30-billion over the next five years, and $8.3-billion each year after that, to bring child-care fees down to a $10-a-day average by 2026. The proposal, which requires negotiation with the provinces and territories, would split subsidies evenly with those governments and targets a 50-per-cent reduction in average child-care fees by the end of 2022.

The federal program is largely modelled on Quebec’s subsidized child-care system, implemented in the 1990s in an effort to increase women’s access to the labour market. Since then, labour participation rates for women aged 25 to 54 in the province have grown to exceed the national average by four percentage points.

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