Kidnapping, harassment, assault: Police report details circumstances surrounding Chas. County emergency director’s arrest

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A report from the Charleston Police Department outlined a series of events connected to the arrest of Charleston County Emergency Director Jason Patno.

Patno was arrested Thursday on kidnapping, burglary, and assault & battery charges.

While meeting with investigators last month, the victim said she and Patno met in July of 2017 and entered an “exclusive dating relationship” a few months later but never lived together.

The victim told investigators that Patno’s behavior toward her changed not long after they began dating, and he began harassing her on social media – even contacting her friends and sending them disparaging things about her.

Jason Patno (Charleston County Detention Center booking photo)

She later hired an attorney who sent Patno a cease-and-desist letter, but that did not stop Patno from contacting her. She also continued to see him, according to the report.

While spending an evening at Patno’s house in November 2018, she stated that he noticed she received a call from a number that he was not familiar with and became angry. She told investigators that he took her phone and threw it in the toilet, grabbed her, and they engaged in a physical struggle.

Later, in December of that same year, the two were in downtown Charleston together when Patno became angry with the victim and left her downtown without a ride home.

Around midnight she was awaked by a loud noise on her back deck and looked to see Patno outside slamming a wooden bench on the deck to get her attention. She said he was screaming for her to let him inside, but she refused and told him to go home.

“All of a sudden, he was able to force his way inside the residence and he attacked her,” the report stated. The victim told police he knocked her to the ground in the bedroom – she woke up the next morning with Patno still inside the home. The report said he kept her there for two days until he later took her to his home.

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After pleading with Patno to take her to the emergency room, the two went to Roper Hospital for treatment. According to the report, he told emergency room staff that she fell while in the shower.

Another incident happened on Easter Sunday in 2019 – both began to argue and as she attempted to leave, Patno threw a bicycle at her, damaging her vehicle.

He showed up at her home a time later and pushed his way into her residence. Patno “became enraged and pushed her onto her bed,” the report stated. Then he “climbed on top of her and covered her mouth and nose with his hand.” After discovering she was recording the incident, the two continued to struggle, and while on top of her, he stated “I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ll kill you right now.”

She could not breathe and agreed to delete the recording. It was later turned over to law enforcement.

The relationship later ended in September of 2019, but the victim told investigators that he periodically sends her harassing and derogatory messages using WhatsApp. She said the last contact she had with the offender was on April 1st 2021, when he sent her a harassing text.

Patno was arrested Thursday afternoon. He is charged with kidnapping, first-degree assault and battery, and first-degree burglary.

Shortly after his arrest, Charleston County Administrator Bill Tuten said Patno was placed on unpaid leave while they investigated details surrounding his arrest. “I have the utmost confidence that law enforcement and the Solicitor’s Office will handle this professionally and appropriately,” said Tuten.

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