WATCH: Local experts weigh in on what to do if you're kidnapped

Police blocking off the home of Jake Patterson in northwestern Wisconsin
Police blocking off the home of Jacob Patterson in northwestern Wisconsin on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. Courtesy of KSTP

FARGO — Jayme Closs didn't know her abductor and w hat makes her case even more frightening is that police still don't know how Jake Patterson picked her out. As far as investigators know, h e did not know the family, and there is no evidence of an online ruse.

So, what should you or your children do if you ever find yourself in the nightmare Jayme Closs did?

We've all been told to run, fight and scream to get away from a kidnapper, but WDAY reporter Matt Henson sat down with local experts to find out what to do if that doesn't work.


Local law enforcement and domestic violence experts say there is no official advice for someone who finds themselves being held hostage like Jayme Closs.

"Every situation is so different that it is really hard to say what the right or wrong thing to do is when you are being held captive by someone," said Christopher Johnson with the Rape & Abuse Crisis Center in Fargo.

It's unclear if the Wisconsin teen was ever taken out in public with Patterson, but if an abducted person is taken by their captor out in the open, police say there are some subtle things victims can do.

"Some of these people get taken into the community and they are told to stay quiet, told not to do anything," said Fargo Police Sgt. Pete Nielsen. "So we get them to draw attention to themselves or get somebody to alert the police, mouth something, write something down."

Police say Patterson was never on their radar until his arrest. They say this is a good time to talk with your kids about the importance of installing tracking apps on their phones.

"That one time where the parent can see where you are at — when they don't know you are missing, might be the only chance to give the police a lead of where you are," Nielsen said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
What To Read Next
Get Local