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'We're running on Jayme's time': Investigators working through weekend in NW Wisconsin

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Two Dead-Child Missing
The sign outside city hall in Barron, Wis., on Friday welcomes Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old northwestern Wisconsin girl who went missing in October after her parents were killed. Closs was found alive in the rural town of Gordon, Wis., about about 60 miles north of her home in Barron, authorities said Thursday.
Aaron Lavinsky | Star Tribune via AP

As Jayme Closs spends the weekend with family, investigators in northwestern Wisconsin are working to learn more about how and why a man allegedly killed the 13-year-old's parents and held her captive for nearly three months.

On Thursday, Jayme escaped the rural home where she was being held. A suspect — 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson — is in custody and is due in court on Monday.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald gave an update Saturday, calling the case still "very active."

• From Friday: Sheriff: Jayme a 'hero'; guns found at home of suspected kidnapper

Jayme Closs (right) with her aunt, Jennifer Smith
This Friday photo shows Jayme Closs (right) with her aunt, Jennifer Smith, in Barron, Wis.
Jennifer Smith via AP

"The good news is, I was told this morning that Jayme woke up at a safe home for the first time in 88 days with a smile on her face. That was the news we all wanted to hear this morning," he told MPR News. "But the case remains very active. 

"We still are serving the search warrant on the (Patterson) residence in Gordon, collecting evidence, bringing it back either here to the sheriff's department or to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab. The FBI, DCI and the crime lab and our agents are still on the ground, working it, conducting interviews with neighborhood (resident), friends, family, anybody that might know anything."

Fitzgerald said that amid pressure to find out what happened, investigators are letting Jayme decide when she wants to talk. The girl was reunited with family members on Friday.

"We're running on Jayme's time right now," he said. "And so Jayme gets to set the pace of what we do, how we interact, when she wants to do, what she wants to do — and we'll make sure that that happens."

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald at a press conference
Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald speaks at a press conference Friday afternoon at the sheriff's department in Barron, Wis.
Evan Frost | MPR News

One of Jayme's aunts, Jennifer Naiberg Smith, posted on Facebook on Saturday that Jayme had a good night's sleep.

"What a great feeling to have her home. As a family we will get through all of the healing process Jayme has. It will be a long road but we are family strong and we love this little girl so much," Smith wrote.

Fitzgerald said Saturday that investigators believe Patterson acted alone.

"We have no information to lead us that he had an accomplice of any sort on this case. Even during the 88 days of captivity of Jayme — we still don't think that anybody assisted him in that. We know he lived in that house alone," he said.

"We did a neighborhood canvass, and there were other houses around where Jayme was. So we're determining, did he even let her go outside? Things like that are things we're looking at."

Fitzgerald said he was not yet aware of any plans for a community gathering to welcome Jayme home.