I’ve been asked to explain the #11ForJacob post I put up on Saturday. The post coincided with actions in the Twin Cities, honoring Jacob Wetterling.
Jacob was riding home on his bicycle from the local Tom Thumb store in St Joseph, with his younger brother and his best friend on an October evening in 1989. They had just rented a video, when a masked man with a gun stopped the three boys. He made them lie down alongside the road, and asked the boys their ages and names. The brother and friend were told to run and not look back, but the gunman kept Jacob.
I was still living in Minnesota at the time, and the abduction shook the entire state. Rural Minnesota was hit especially hard, if something like this can happen here, then…
After 27 years, there was finally a break in the case: an early suspect in the Wetterling case had been arrested on other charges. Ties were made with another abduction of a 12 year old boy, just months before Jacob disappeared, in a town nearby. The suspect finally confessed and led authorities to a shallow grave on a farm in Paynesville, about 30 miles from St Joseph. Jacob, who was 11 years old in October of 1989, had been killed within hours of his abduction. The details of the abduction and murder can be found online, I will not give them here, and I will not name the man who took young Jacob’s life.
On Saturday, the Minnesota Gopher football team, and the Minnesota Twins baseball club wore 11 For Jacob patches in honor of Jacob Wetterling. Jacob was the goalie on his school hockey team and he played soccer. Word out there is that he wanted to be a football player when he grew up. Jacob wore #11.
I found the photos of Jacob online, and I would have to assume that they originally came from the Wetterling family. Hopefully, they will not mind my sharing them here. My deepest condolences go out to the Wetterling family and friends, and the town of St Joseph, MN. After all of these years, Jacob has finally found his way home, but this was not the outcome everyone has held out hope for, and knowing Jacob’s final hours can only be painful on a level that I can not comprehend.
Throughout the past 27 years, the Wetterlings have worked with tireless grace on behalf of missing children. So I end this explanation of my previous post with Patty Wetterling’s own words that were posted on the site of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center:
“Say a prayer. Light a candle. Be with friends. Play with your children. Giggle. Hold hands. Eat ice cream. Create joy. Help your neighbor. That is what will bring me comfort today.”
A memorial service for Jacob will be held at the College of Saint Benedict on Sunday, September 25 in St Joseph.