FBI credits teamwork, determination in Jayme Closs search; has hope for other missing children cases

MILWAUKEE -- We are learning more about the Jayme Closs investigation from an FBI agent assigned to the case. Justin Tolomeo, FBI Special Agent, and a team of 250 FBI agents and personnel worked nearly round the clock to bring Closs home. In the end, it was Closs herself who broke the case.

Justin Tolomeo

A law enforcement agent for more than 30 years, Tolomeo says solving crimes against kids matters.

"It is a threat to life of a child," Tolomeo said. "We are going to pull out all the stops and move rapidly and flood resources into that area to help with the investigation."

Tolomeo and his team arrived at the Closs home hours after the 13-year-old was taken. Forensic technicians searched the property for anything that would help them identify who took Closs and why. They found nothing.

Barron homicide scene

Justin Tolomeo

"As a law enforcement officer, you look to what you could have done better or where is that one piece we missed," Tolomeo said. "In this case, it just wasn't there."

According to court documents, the suspect -- 21-year-old Jake Patterson -- saw Closs get on the school bus and began plotting to take her. Patterson shaved his head and faced and wiped down his shotgun and shells before storming the Closs home and killing the girl's parents and took the 13-year-old one hour north to his home in Douglas County.

Tolomeo and his team worked 24-hour shifts to follow up on thousands of tips. None panned out and the FBI scaled back its operation, but Tolomeo says his team never gave up.

Barron homicide scene

"We always still held up hope that we would find her," said Tolomeo.

Jayme Closs (Credit: Jennifer Smith)

Tolomeo got the phone call he'd been hoping for 88 days later. Jayme Closs was coming home.

"I'm still amazed by the bravery and resilience she displayed," said Tolomeo.

Closs escaped from the Patterson home and ran for help. Local deputies arrested Patterson minutes later.

"We did everything we possibly could and I again, I said it, Jayme herself that gave us that break," said Tolomeo.

Tolomeo has yet to meet Closs, and his work isn't done. There are more missing children.

"Too many," said Tolomeo.

Tolomeo hopes Closs' story will help the FBI bring them home.

"It will give those children that are held against their will. If they see this, you can do something like Jayme did," said Tolomeo.