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Oct 22nd, 2009


Update: September 3, 2016 Breaking News

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota

This area is dedicated to our friend Jacob and other missing childrenPaddy_JacobGarden-1_10-09-2008
Inscribed stone slab in Jacob’s Garden at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, taken Oct. 9, 2008. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)

 


 

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Jacob Wetterling’s abduction on October 22, 1989 in St. Joseph, Minn.

Several media outlets, most notably the St. Cloud Times — the major newspaper in the area where Jacob was kidnapped — featured commemorative reports. Links and excerpts from those reports are provided below.

St. Cloud Times Interactive Content

Video, photos, maps, timeline, and other missing persons

Jacob Wetterling: 20 Years of Hope (07:37)

Wetterling Coverage Brings in 30 Tips

By Kari Petri
St. Cloud Times
October 22, 2009

Investigators have received 30 tips this week relating to the Jacob Wetterling abduction during the media blitz covering the 20th anniversary of the case.

Tips have come in since Sunday to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. …

Capt. Pam Jensen, who is one of the cases lead investigators, said she got more tips than she anticipated. She got up to eight today alone. …

Anyone with information about the abduction should call the sheriff’s office at (320) 251-4240 or Crime Stoppers at (320) 255-1301.

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20 Years After Wetterling Abduction, Cases Have Changed Society

Jerry Wetterling wears a button showing a digitally aged photo of Jacob as he might have looked at age 21.
Jerry Wetterling wears a button showing a digitally aged photo of Jacob as he might have looked at age 21. (Photo: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
October 22, 2009

The names already were familiar to many of America’s parents long before Jacob Wetterling was taken.

In 1982, it was Johnny Gosch in Iowa. In 1981, it was Adam Walsh in Florida. In 1979, it was Etan Patz in New York.

The horror of children being snatched away boiled over in Central Minnesota in 1989, 20 years ago today, with the abduction of 11-year-old Jacob.

It continued a sea change nationwide in the way parents looked at the safety of their children and how much freedom those children should get.

“There were a group of cases that said to American parents that if my child isn’t safe in this kind of setting, then where are they safe?” said Ernie Allen, president and chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. …

Congressional mandates to quantify the number of missing children cases help tell the story in numbers.

About 800,000 kids a year disappear in incidents serious enough that parents call police, Allen said. Runaways make up the largest share of those, followed by kids who get lost.

About 200,000 are abducted by a family member, and 58,000 are abducted by nonrelatives. Most of the nonfamily abductions are cases in which children are gone for a short time and are taken for another criminal reason — most often sexual abuse — and are released and found, Allen said.

He estimated there are 100-120 cases a year nationwide like Jacob’s, in which a stranger abducts someone who isnt found relatively quickly.

Despite such cases being a small portion of the missing children cases, that remains the stereotypical abduction scenario in many parents minds, Allen said. …

Jacob’s abduction led to the first federal mandates that each state create sex offender registries. Patty Wetterling traveled the country to help pass that law. …

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Investigators Learned from Wetterling Case

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner stands at the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center next to boxes of paper leads and documentation from the Jacob Wetterling abduction.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner stands at the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center next to boxes of paper leads and documentation from the Jacob Wetterling abduction. (Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By Kari Petri
St. Cloud Times
October 22, 2009

It was a kind of case local investigators hadn’t seen before.

A boy taken at gunpoint in front of his brother and friend. No witness saw what direction the masked gunman took the boy or got a good description of what he looked like.

The abduction of Jacob Wetterling is one of the highest-profile investigations in Minnesota history. Today marks the 20th anniversary of the 11-year-old’s abduction.

A lot was learned from the investigation. With so many different departments — there were 50 investigators working the case at its height — investigators now realize the importance of having one leader.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Stearns County Capt. Pam Jensen said. …

Looking back, Jensen said they should have kept the focus local. …

A lot of good things were done early in the investigation. Investigators made a good decision to get so many resources into the area and use those resources to conduct an extensive ground search. They were able to get an FBI profiler to help them identify a possible suspect. …

————————————————

Decades Later, Hope Endures

Patty-Wetterling_10-2009
Patty Wetterling takes a moment to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the abduction of her son, Jacob, during an interview Oct. 9, 2009 at their St. Joseph home. Behind her is a wooden toy train that carries the familiar Jacob’s Hope slogan. (Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By Kari Petri
St. Cloud Times
October 18, 2009

ST. JOSEPH — The night of Oct. 22, 1989, was cool and would become very dark.

Three boys decide to go rent a movie at a nearby Tom Thumb store. Two of them hop on their bikes and a third gets on a scooter to make the trip along the quiet country road.

They settle on a movie and set out for home.

Its dark, but they have a flashlight to help them see. They are wearing reflective clothing so vehicles can see them.

But they are not alone.

A masked man dressed in black comes out of the night.

He has a gun.

He tells them to get off their bikes and to lay down in the ditch. He threatens to shoot if they don’t follow directions.

Then the man goes down the line and asks each of them their ages. Trevor Wetterling is 10. Aaron Larson and Jacob Wetterling are 11.

The man tells Trevor to run away into the woods. Then he tells Aaron to do the same.

They do as they’re told.

When they look back, the man and Jacob are gone.

It’s been 20 years since Jacob Wetterling was last seen by his friend and his brother on that dark road.

What happened that night touched a community. It changed laws and how families live, and it continues to haunt Jacob’s family and friends.

The St. Cloud Times revisited the case and talked to the people directly involved in it. Most cold cases fade from memory and the enthusiasm to solve them diminishes. But a common theme of undying hope ran through the interviews. …

——————————

Related reports

Friend Larson still hopes for a happy ending

Aaron Larson, Jacob Wetterling's childhood best friend, recalls Wetterling's abduction at his home in Worthington.
Aaron Larson, Jacob Wetterling’s childhood best friend, recalls Wetterling’s abduction at his home in Worthington. (Adam Hammer / St. Cloud Times)

Larsons recall finding healing in daily routines

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Wetterling Case Still Gets Leads

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner reflects on the 20 years that have passed since Jacob Wetterlings abduction and the thousands of leads that have been followed and cataloged in the boxes that line a wall in an evidence room.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner reflects on the 20 years that have passed since Jacob Wetterling’s abduction and the thousands of leads that have been followed and cataloged in the boxes that line a wall in an evidence room. (Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By Kari Petri
St. Cloud Times
October 18, 2009

It may well be the biggest case in Minnesota history, holding the public’s attention for 20 years.

The 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling has remained in the minds of most Minnesotans, especially in the St. Cloud area. But the big crime has gone without a big arrest.

Authorities still dont know what happened to Jacob or who took him. At the height of the case, there were 50 investigators and 18,000 leads followed in the first two months. As of September [2009], 7,638 people have been interviewed about the abduction.

“Were not about to give up,” Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said.

The investigation now lies in the hands of Stearns County Capt. Pam Jensen and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Special Agent Ken McDonald. …

Dozens of boxes and binders of police reports, tip sheets and other evidence live in the basement of the sheriff’s office.

The most important part of the investigative file is the name index, a spreadsheet that contains the name of every person who has ever talked to authorities about the case: suspects, tipsters and people who know the Wetterlings.

Jensen estimates they still get five to six leads a month. Some simply provide bits of information while others name a person they think is the guilty one.

“When (the story is) in the news, more will come in,” Jensen said. …

The investigators say they are now more focused on local suspects. There are about five they are looking at.

For the first 14 years of the investigation, authorities had focused on a vehicle that a witness reported seeing near the abduction site on 91st Avenue Southeast in St. Joseph Township. The driver came forward in 2003. He was ruled out as a suspect and authorities decided it was likely that the abductor hadn’t used a vehicle.

McDonald said it wasn’t routine for the boys to ride their bikes along that road. It is most likely that the suspect saw them going to the store and knew they would be coming back. And the road is in such a remote area that it’s unlikely someone unfamiliar with the area would be there, he said.

“It raises the likelihood that it was someone local,” he said.

Jensen said different investigators have different theories about what happened and different top suspects.

But McDonald thinks there are several strong suspects out there. …

The investigators welcome any sort of attention they can get for the case because it increases the likelihood that it will get solved. …

“There are people out there with information,” McDonald said. …

——————————————————————

‘Jacob’s Hope’ Still Alive in Their Hearts

Patty and Jerry Wetterling talk in their living room Oct. 9 about the 20th anniversary of their son Jacobs abduction.
Patty and Jerry Wetterling talk in their living room Oct. 9, 2009 about the 20th anniversary of their son Jacob’s abduction. (Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
October 18, 2009

ST. JOSEPH — There’s only one road connecting the rest of the world to the quiet cul-de-sac Jerry and Patty Wetterling call home.

In an area that has seen surrounding land gobbled up by development, 91st Avenue Southeast cuts through farm fields as it approaches the Wetterling residence.

Click on this link and then select the “On the Scene” folder for an aerial photograph of the Jacob Wetterling abduction site and crime scene photos.

It still looks a lot like it did 20 years ago, the night 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted at the spot where a neighbor’s driveway meets that road.

And every time the Wetterlings leave their home, whether for days at a time or to get a gallon of milk, they pass the spot where the second-oldest of their four children disappeared.

“We call it The Site,” Jerry said. “Sometimes we say we’re going to take a walk to The Site. Its kind of an eerie feeling.”

“I say a prayer every time I go past it,” Patty said.

View map of Jacob Wetterling abduction site (PDF)

What happened at that spot forever changed what it meant to them to be a parent, a spouse, a Wetterling. And 20 years later, the couple still seeks answers and strives to return the world to what it was for Jacob before he was taken during a bike ride home from the convenience store. …

“Jacob’s Hope” became a slogan for the extensive efforts to find Jacob and his abductor. Patty Wetterling took to the national stage to fight for laws that created sex offender registries and tougher penalties for offenders. She has crisscrossed the country to speak to police officers, politicians and talk show audiences. She ran for office, and they started a foundation to help find missing children.

She and Jerry still live in the house on Kiwi Court that they called home the night Jacob was abducted. They have opinions about who might have taken Jacob, but they are careful about discussing suspects.

They don’t discount a theory that Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner forwarded in recent years that shifted the focus of the investigation to local suspects. …

“There’s a certain anxiety and uneasiness about October coming,” Jerry said. “The leaves are turning and its that time of year and the feelings kind of come back from at the time that it happened.”

“You don’t need to look at a calendar, you feel it in the air,” Patty said, “when the leaves start to turn and the kids are back in school.”

It’s a season that Patty calls “the shaking of the tree,” when annual publicity about Jacob’s abduction generates more leads in the case. The Wetterlings hope the lead they need surfaces or a person comes forward with a tip — or a confession.

“We’re dealing with this on a daily basis, but the world, the community, tends to remember again at the anniversary time,” Jerry said.

Just the other day, Patty was leaving a restaurant and was stopped by a woman who wanted only to tell her that the Wetterling family was in her prayers. The woman was surprised that 20 years had passed since Jacob was taken, Patty said.

They chatted for a few minutes. Patty remembers leaving the parking lot in tears.

“Everything makes me cry this time of the year,” she said.

But it’s that type of support, from friends, family and strangers, that keeps the Wetterlings going, they said.

“I do feel we owe the world an incredible amount of gratitude for the prayers and the support and the holding us up when we couldn’t do it on our own,” Patty said. “We could never repay people for that.” …

Patty recently finished a book, called “Jacob’s Hope,” that is intended to tell her grandchildren about their uncle Jacob and the special place in their hearts that is his hope. …

———————————

KARE-11 Coverage

Hope Remains for Jacob Wetterling’s Return 20 Years Later

By Carla Hult
KARE-11
October 21, 2009

Click here to watch interview with Patty Wetterling

Click here to watch interview with Jerry Wetterling

The Wetterling Example

By Carla Hult
KARE-11
October 21, 2009

——————————

WCCO Coverage

WCCO: 20th Anniversary of Jacob Wetterling Abduction

Don Shelby’s Plea to Jacob Wetterling’s Abductor

————————————————

Related reports on this site

New Book on Jacob Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects (April 17, 2015)

Wetterling_book-cover

On Facebook: Searching for Jacob Wetterling

Jacob Wetterling Freedom Walk (Dec. 21, 2009)

Guimond: “Justice for Josh” March (Nov. 9, 2009)

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)

Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009)

Jacob Wetterling Celebration (Oct. 16, 2009)

Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive (Aug. 28, 2009)

Wetterling Friend Shares Story (Apr. 28, 2009)

Jacob Wetterling Lead Unravels (Jan. 7, 2009)

Ottis Toole Murdered Adam Walsh (Dec. 16, 2008)

————————

Related links

The Search for Jacob [Alternative link]
(Steve Irsay, Court TV)

Wetterling_Jacob_summer-1989
One of the last pictures of Jacob Wetterling, on a day trip two months before he was kidnapped on October 22, 1989, wearing the same blue mesh shirt he wore the night he vanished.

Find Joshua Guimond

Guimond_last-photo-cropped
One of the last pictures of Josh Guimond, taken on the campus of St. John’s University (6 miles from the Wetterling abduction site) shortly before his disappearance on November 10, 2002.

All possibilities should be investigated in Guimond case
(Aubrey Immelman, The Record, Nov. 11, 2004)

———————————————————————————————————

FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — October 22 , 2008

Write-in Campaign: Day 4

One year ago today, on the fourth day of my write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, I thanked supporters for their messages of encouragement and online contributions and published excerpts from Eric Zaetsch’s “Developers are Crabgrass” blog entry for Oct. 20, 2008, regarding my write-in candidacy.





23 Responses to “Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Missing Person Joshua Guimond Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Celebration Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Wetterling Friend Shares Story Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Josh Guimond: New Developments Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Fighting to Protect Our Children Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Freedom Walk Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  8. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Guimond: “Justice for Josh” March Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  9. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling: Rassier Search Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  10. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Wetterling Suspect Dan Rassier Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  11. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Lead Unravels Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009)  […]

  12. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling — Latest News Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  13. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob’s Kidnapping ‘Comes of Age’ Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  14. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Ottis Toole Murdered Adam Walsh Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  15. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Missing Person Kevin Jay Ayotte Says:

    […] Just six months after Aaron Mitchell Anderson disappeared from his home in Pine City, a more highly publicized kidnapping occurred about 90 minutes to the west along Minnesota Highway 23. On the evening of Sunday, October 22, 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was taken at gunpoint in front of two witnesses — his brother Trevor and friend Aaron Larson — near his home in St. Joseph. […]

  16. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Anniversary Marked By AMBER Alert Donation Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  17. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Penn State Scandal Highlights Joshua Guimond Mystery Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  18. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Dan Rassier Teaching Concerns Says:

    […] In the letter obtained by the Associated Press, Dan Rassier wrote that law officers violated his civil rights and his family’s rights and “abused the privileges of their power” in relation to the Jacob Wetterling case. Rassier also criticized the way the investigation has been handled over the years. […]

  19. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Dan Rassier Teaching Concerns Says:

    […] In the letter obtained by the Associated Press, Dan Rassier criticized the way the Jacob Wetterling investigation has been handled over the years. […]

  20. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Case featured on CNN’s ‘Hunt With John Walsh’ Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  21. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » 25-Year Anniversary of Jacob Wetterling Abduction Says:

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  22. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » New Book on Jacob Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

  23. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Daniel Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Says:

    […] Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009) […]

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