Jacob Wetterling missing 20 years

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the abduction of eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling. He was kidnapped at gunpoint by a strange man in front of his brother and a friend, and never seen again. The police don’t seem to have any idea what became of him or who took him, though he is one of the most famous missing children in the country.

Of course there’s a slew of anniversary articles:
Minneapolis Star-Tribune (this is a nice one, focusing on how the abduction affected Jacob’s best friend who saw the whole thing)
Minnesota Public Radio
St. Cloud Times
St. Cloud Times again
USA Today
ABC News
Fox 9 News

Jacob’s abduction reminds me of a lot of cases, namely Jaycee Dugard, Johnny Gosch and Eugene Martin, and the Groene family murders and the abductions of Dylan and Shasta Groene. (I wonder if anyone looked at Joseph Duncan as a suspect in Jacob’s kidnapping? Just a thought.) Whoever kidnapped Jacob was incredibly brazen and brutal. My guess is that the abductor had committed other crimes before — not kidnapping but perhaps assaults, burglaries, maybe some sex crimes. You just don’t wake up one morning and decide to stalk and abduct a child at gunpoint in full view of two witnesses.

Is Jacob still alive? Who knows?

8 thoughts on “Jacob Wetterling missing 20 years

  1. Kat October 22, 2009 / 5:55 pm

    i dunno who they have looked at over the years but good on his mom for her continual involvment inhis case. Sorry bout the misspelling, but i am still so irritated from a columbine parent articule i just read i can’t even talk.

    • Meaghan October 22, 2009 / 6:00 pm

      Just a few days ago I read Dave Cullen’s book Columbine. It’s the only book I’ve read about the shooting. I thought it was excellent.

      • whizbangwoman October 29, 2009 / 6:33 pm

        I also have read Cullen’s book about Columbine. Like you, it was the only book I’ve read about it, and I thought it was excellent also.

  2. Katja October 22, 2009 / 10:00 pm

    I remember the case well, especially since I spent a good amount of time in the area for many, many years. As a weird little thing, about 10 years ago, I had to call his brother as part of my job back then. Being that Jacob was just about my age, it was something that was something that I’ve never forgotten.

    One thing, though, a couple of years ago, there was a major change of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, and for awhile, they didn’t even have his story on the website. It looks like they have redone the website since then (and renamed the foundation) and Jacob’s story is back there.

  3. jaime October 23, 2009 / 1:26 pm

    I believe that Joseph Duncan was in prison when Wetterling was abducted ,but I have always been curious about whether the man that killed Chuckie Mauk in Georgia ( I believe) was involved.

  4. Justin October 24, 2009 / 4:00 am

    After seeing the cases of Jaycee Dugard, I wonder how many of those abducted children were held for years as some perverts play toy and died in obscurity, perhaps from complecations from childbirth or they just gave up and died when they gave up hope. When I see these missing persons websites when it is obvious that this was a stranger abduction, I usually don’t think that the abductees lived more than a couple of days after they were taken. But I suppose there could be several of these stranger abductees who have spent years as captives and may never be found.

    I wonder what would be worse for the parents to believe: that their child was killed shortly after their abduction or that they lived for years as a sex slave before dying. Everyone hopes that those kids are alive, but unless they were taken as infants where people can hope that someone wanted a baby to raise as their own, it is almost always for sex.

    I’m feeling morbid today. I was recalling a girl named Tara Elizabeth Burke. She was recovered in San Francisco and I remember the case. I think she turned out OK. Somewhat.


  5. LAW December 26, 2009 / 2:17 am

    I have not talked to Tara in about 5 years, but all in all she has done fair considering what she went through. I know she works and is able to function, but I am sure the scarring is deep. I could not help but think about Tara after Jaycee, as it brought it too close to home. I know it was difficult on the whole family. It is their story to tell and perhaps someday they will.. But I am glad to know I am not the only one who remembers a 3 year old named Tara Burke who was parted from her family for 10 months. She went through pure terror and the recovery process was long.

  6. Kim Scott May 9, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    To whom it may concern,

    JACOB is alive and works at the Cheney Trading Company on first street.Carlos Castro and his son Daniel both are kidnapping children
    and bringing them to Cheney,Washington. Jacob is using a different last name. I hope you call so we can get him and his family reunited. All of them are in Cheney& Spokane,Washington. Have a good day!
    509-228-3641 Kim

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