On Friday, her kidnapper, 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson, was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment.
Just moments before Baron County Circuit Court Judge James Babler revealed Patterson’s fate, a statement was read on behalf of Jayme, detailing her harrowing, yet brave escape.
“Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I loved away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and dad. I loved my mom and dad very much and they loved me very much. They did all they could to make me happy and protect me. He took them away from me forever,” Jayme said in the statement.
“My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory,” she added.
“I have to have an alarm in the house now just so I can sleep,” she continued. “I used to love to go out with my friends. I loved to go to school. I loved to do dance. He took all of those things away from me too.”
While Patterson may have robbed Jayme of so many experiences, the young girl went on to explain all of the things he didn’t take — and never will.
“He can’t take my freedom. He thought that he could own me but he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not,” Jayme said.
“Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn’t,” Jayme continued. “I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave. He was not.”
“He can never take away my spirit. He thought that he could make me like him, but he was wrong,” Jayme added. “He can’t ever change me, or take away who I am. He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not.”
“Jake Patterson will never have any power over me. I feel like I have some power over him, because I get to tell the judge what I think should happen to me. He stole my parents from me. He stole almost everything I love from me. For 88 days he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that,” Jayme said.
“He should stay locked up forever,” Jayme continued.
Jayme was held captive in a cabin in Gordon, Wisconsin, for nearly three months after her parents, Denise, 46, and James, 56, were fatally shot in their Barron home, about 70 miles from Gordon, last October 15.
Patterson pleaded guilty in March to two intentional homicide charges as well as a kidnapping charge.
The criminal complaint against Patterson stated he targeted Jayme, whom he did not know, after he spotted her getting on a school bus. It stated he made two attempts to kidnap her prior to October 15, but backed off until his third attempt, when he shot Jayme’s father at the front door, then confronted Jayme and her mother while they were hiding in a bathroom, where he shot the mother and bound the teen with tape before dragging her into the trunk of his vehicle.
At his Gordon cabin, Patterson sometimes ordered Jayme under the bed for as long as 12 hours at a time — depriving her of food, water or bathroom breaks. Around Christmastime, Patterson went away to visit his grandparents while the girl hid under the bed, afraid to move.
On January 10, the day Jayme escaped, Patterson had left her alone with a warning to stay under the bed. But after Patterson left, Jayme fled the cabin and encountered a woman out walking her dog, who then raced Jayme to a neighbor’s home where police were called to.
Patterson was arrested shortly after.
After her escape, Jayme received widespread plaudits for her bravery.
Just days before Patterson’s hearing, Jayme was honored for her bravery by Wisconsin lawmakers.
Jayme received a “hometown hero” award on May 15 from the Wisconsin State Assembly during a ceremony in the state capitol in Madison. She did not speak, but Jennifer Smith, her aunt and guardian, thanked the lawmakers on her behalf and said, “Jayme is enjoying her day here. More than you can imagine.”
Rep. Romaine Quinn, who represents Jayme’s hometown of Barron, addressed the teen during the ceremony: “Jayme, your strength, your resolve and your bravery is beyond incredible. You are truly an inspiration and a bright light in a time of sadness.”
Quinn added, “You taught us an important lesson: No matter how grave your situation, no matter how dark your days become and no matter how impossible your circumstances may seem, there is always hope.”