ALL ACROSS MINNESOTA today, we are holding our collective breaths, hoping that news about a possible break in the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling provides answers. Answers we’ve waited to get for 26 years.
An Annandale man, arrested for possession of child pornography, is now considered a “person of interest” in the October 22, 1989, abduction of 11-year-old Jacob near the Wetterlings’ St. Joseph home. He was questioned early on in the Wetterling case and several times thereafter.
Jacob’s abduction marked a change in parenting in Minnesota. I remember, as a young mother of two and three-year-old daughters, teaching my girls what to do in the event of a possible kidnapping. I didn’t want to scare them. Yet, because of what happened to Jacob, I felt compelled to educate my then preschoolers about stranger danger.
Rural Minnesota, especially, lost a bit of innocence on that October day when a masked man approached Jacob, his brother and a friend while they were riding bikes from a convenience store. The man disappeared with Jacob after threatening to shoot the other two.
It all seemed so random. A horrible crime in an ordinary place. Anytown in rural Minnesota. Jacob could have been our son, our nephew, our neighbor boy. He was the face of all Minnesota children. And his parents, especially Patty, were the faces we saw in the mirror. We feared this could happen to any of our families.
For 26 years, we have grieved and hoped and prayed with the Wetterlings. And maybe soon we will all have the answers we long for, that we need. Who took Jacob? Where is he? And why? Oh, why?
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling