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Closs family: Appreciate sympathy from suspect's father

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Jake Thomas Patterson makes his first court appearance on video.
Jake Thomas Patterson makes his first court appearance on video before Judge James Babler at the Barron County Justice Center in Barron, Wis., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
Richard Tsong-Taatarii | Star Tribune via AP

The grandfather of a Wisconsin girl who was kidnapped after her parents were killed in October said Wednesday that he appreciates the sympathy being expressed by the suspect's father.

Robert Naiberg's granddaughter, 13-year-old Jayme Closs, escaped from a remote cabin in northwest Wisconsin late last week, nearly three months after she was abducted from her family's home. Investigators allege the suspect, 21-year-old son Jake Patterson, targeted the girl after first spotting her getting on a school bus.

Jayme Closs (right) with her aunt, Jennifer Smith
This photo shows Jayme Closs (right) with her aunt, Jennifer Smith, in Barron, Wis. Jayme's grandfather said he appreciates the sympathy being expressed by the alleged suspect's father.
Jennifer Smith via AP

"You can't blame the parents," Naiberg told The Associated Press. "A guy becomes 21 years old, and sometimes it's not how he was raised or anything."

Patterson's father, Patrick Patterson, visited the Barron County Justice Center on Tuesday saying he wanted to pass a note to the Closs' family, CNN reported. On the verge of tears, Patrick Patterson declined an interview but said: "All I care about right now is Jayme's family."

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told the AP he had no knowledge of a note from the Patterson family.

Jake Patterson was charged Monday with two counts of intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary, according to a criminal complaint.

Investigators allege Patterson killed Jayme's parents, James and Denise Closs, during a break-in at the family's home near Barron and then held the girl captive in a cabin about an hour's drive north.

Naiberg, Denise Closs' father, said his granddaughter continues to recover while staying with her aunt. Naiberg said Jayme will permanently live with her aunt.

"She doesn't want to talk to anybody," Naiberg said of his granddaughter, but said her aunt is "bringing her out of her shell slowly."

Naiberg said Jayme wants to return to school but it isn't clear when that might happen.