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Wisconsin man arrested in teen’s abduction, parents’ deaths

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BARRON, Wis. — A 21-year-old man is jailed in the deaths of a Wisconsin couple he killed because he wanted to kidnap their teenage daughter, investigators said Friday, a day after the girl approached a stranger along a rural road saying she’d been abducted in October and held against her will.

Jake Thomas Patterson was taken into custody shortly after 13-year-old Jayme Closs sought help from a woman walking her dog in a rural, heavily wooded neighbourhood near the small town of Gordon, about 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) north of Barron. Jayme disappeared from her family’s home near Barron after her parents were killed Oct. 15.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said during a news conference Friday that Jayme was taken against her will. He said investigators believe Patterson killed Jayme’s parents because he wanted to abduct her, and that Patterson “planned his actions and took many steps to hide his identity.”

Fitzgerald said investigators believe the girl was “the only target” and don’t believe Patterson had any contact with the family. Douglas County Sheriff Thomas Dalbec said Patterson was jailed on kidnapping and homicide charges.

The woman who first spotted Jayme on Thursday, Jeanne Nutter, said she was walking her dog along a rural road when a disheveled teenage girl called out to her for help and quickly grabbed her. Only then did Jayme reveal her name.

Nutter said Jayme told her she had walked away from a cabin where she’d been held captive, a cabin not far from Nutter’s home.

“I was terrified, but I didn’t want to show her that,” Nutter, a social worker who spent years working in child protection, told The Associated Press on Friday. “She just yelled, ‘Please help me. I don’t know where I am. I’m lost.'”

Nutter added: “My only thought was to get her to a safe place.” The two went to the home of Peter and Kristin Kasinskas, who said Jayme was skinny and dirty, wearing shoes too big for her feet, but appeared outwardly OK.

Kristin Kasinskas, who called 911 to report the girl had been found, told the AP on Friday that Jayme had identified the suspect once she was safely inside her home.

“She said that this person’s name was Jake Patterson, he killed my parents and took me,” Kasinskas said. “She did not talk about why or how. She said she did not know him.”

Patterson lived just three doors down from Kasinskas, but Kasinskas said she didn’t realize it until police identified him as the suspect. She said she never saw Patterson on her street or in town, and doesn’t remember seeing him since he was in high school.

Kasinskas said she taught Patterson science in middle school, but added: “I don’t really remember a ton about him.”

“He seemed like a quiet kid,” she said. “I don’t recall anything that would have explained this, by any means.”

Fitzgerald said Closs was taken to a hospital but has since been medically cleared and released. She was being interviewed by law enforcement, the sheriff said.

Jayme went missing after police discovered someone had broken into the family’s home outside Barron and fatally shot her parents, James and Denise Closs. Jayme was nowhere to be found. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department said the girl had likely been abducted.

Detectives pursued thousands of tips, watched dozens of surveillance videos and conducted numerous searches in the effort to find Jayme. Some tips led officials to recruit 2,000 volunteers for a massive ground search on Oct. 23, but it yielded no clues.

Fitzgerald said in November that he kept similar cases in the back of his mind as he worked to find Jayme, including the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, who was 14 when she was taken from her Salt Lake City home in 2002. Smart was rescued nine months later with the help of two witnesses who recognized her abductors from an “America’s Most Wanted” episode.

“I have a gut feeling she’s (Jayme’s) still alive,” Fitzgerald said at the time.

On Friday, Smart posted on her Instagram account that it was a “miracle” Jayme had been found alive. Smart said the girl’s family should be given “space and privacy on their road to finding a new sense of normal and moving forward.”

“Whatever other details may surface, the most important will still remain that she is alive,” Smart said.

During the 20 minutes Jayme was in their home, Peter and Kristin Kasinskas said they tried to make her feel more comfortable. They offered her water and food, but she declined both. Jayme was quiet, her emotions “pretty flat,” Peter Kasinskas said.

Jayme told the couple she didn’t know where she was or anything about Gordon, a town home to about 644 people in a heavily forested region where logging in the top industry. From what she told them, they believed she was there for most of her disappearance.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on its website that Jayme was found in the town at 4:43 p.m. Thursday, and that a suspect was taken into custody 11 minutes later.

Jayme’s grandfather, Robert Naiberg, told the AP on Friday that he’d been praying for months for the call he received Thursday about his granddaughter being found alive.

Naiberg said his daughter called him with the news, saying Jayme reported having been held by “a guy in the woods” but was able to escape.

Sue Allard, Jayme’s aunt, told the Star Tribune newspaper that she could barely express her joy after learning the news Thursday night.

“Praise the Lord,” Allard said between sobs. “It’s the news we’ve been waiting on for three months. I can’t wait to get my arms around her. I just can’t wait.”

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For the latest updates on the story: https://apnews.com/c529a15d30f845c6adf6ccd478df3a5a

___

Associated Press writers Todd Richmond in Madison and Amy Forliti in Gordon also contributed to this report.

Jeff Baenen And Gretchen Ehlke, The Associated Press


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Alleged RCMP secret leaker Cameron Ortis granted bail

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OTTAWA — Cameron Jay Ortis, a senior RCMP official accused of breaching Canada’s official-secrets law, has been granted release on bail with strict conditions.

Under the terms outlined Tuesday, Ortis will live with his parents in Abbotsford, B.C., must report to the RCMP once a week and is forbidden from using any device that connects to the internet.

Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act and breach of trust for allegedly disclosing secrets to an unknown recipient and planning to reveal additional classified information to an unspecified foreign entity. 

He faces a total of seven counts under various provisions, with the alleged offences dating from as early as Jan. 1, 2015 through to Sept. 12 of this year.

Unlike the case for many criminal offences, Ortis had the burden of demonstrating why he should be freed on bail while he awaits trial on the secrets-law charges.

Evidence at the bail hearing and reasons for the decision are subject to a publication ban.

No trial date has been set.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has said the allegations against Ortis are extremely unsettling, noting that as director general of the force’s National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, he had access to information from domestic and international allies.

Lucki told a news conference last month that investigators came across documents during a joint investigation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that led the Mounties to believe there could be some kind of “internal corruption.”

The commissioner said Ortis had a valid Top Secret clearance — which must be renewed every five years — but he had not undergone a polygraph exam, a test which measures physiological signs such as heart rate and breathing that might indicate deception.

It turns out the RCMP does not use the polygraph for security clearances, even though a 2014 federal standard requires a lie-detector test for the highest security category, known as enhanced Top Secret.

The Security of Information Act, passed following the 9/11 attacks on the United States, is intended to safeguard sensitive government secrets. Charges have been rare but Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a naval officer who gave classified material to Russia, pleaded guilty to offences under the act in 2012.

The law forbids the discussion or release of “special operational information,” including past and current confidential sources, targets of intelligence operations, names of spies, military attack plans, and encryption or other means of protecting data.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2019.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

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Trudeau thanks morning commuters in his Montreal riding after election victory

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MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed up at a Metro station in his Montreal riding of Papineau this morning to thank his constituents after the Liberals secured a minority-government victory last night.

Trudeau stood at the top of the escalators to shake hands with commuters, thanking them after some congratulated him for his victory and posing for photos when asked.

Trudeau did the same thing the morning after the Liberals won the 2015 election, surprising passersby who were not expecting to see the prime minister on their way to school or work.

The Liberals were reduced to a minority government in this election, with a resurgent Bloc Quebecois tripling its seats in the province and the Liberals shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Trudeau spent Monday in Montreal, where he brought his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their three children to vote in his riding of Papineau, which he has represented since 2008.

Unlike Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Trudeau is not scheduled to hold a news conference today.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Oct. 22.

The Canadian Press

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october, 2019

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