Well, it’s hit the news like lightning today: it’s not officially confirmed yet with DNA, but yeah, Jacob Erwin Wetterling is coming home at last. The prime suspect in his case has lead the cops to human remains in an unspecified location.
I never had much hope that Jacob was alive, especially after all the crap about Daniel Heinrich came out, but this announcement still makes me feel pretty sick. Thinking about what that poor little boy went through before his death. And his family, what they’ve been through in the nearly 30 years since.
You just know that Jacob’s brother and the other boy that was with them must have blamed themselves for years, and maybe still do. Even though there was nothing they could have done, even though this was a grown man with a gun and they were terrified children. People always blame themselves in situation like this. It’s easier to say “This has to be my fault somehow” than face up to the cold hard truth that the world is a cold, ruthless, capricious place and everything you know and love can be taken from you forever in a random instant.
Jacob’s mom, Patty, texted the media this simple statement: “All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as have no words.”
Per the same article as Patty’s statement, Daniel Heinrich’s brother has said he feels so sorry for the Wetterlings and is glad they found their son at last. The family members of such people are usually-forgotten-about secondary victims in cases like this. Plenty of perfectly decent people have relatives who are monsters — believe me, I know — and I always try to remember the families of those monsters in my thoughts.
And I remember Jacob. The little boy who loved sports and video games and making models from kits. R.I.P.
I still would like to know why Jacob was killed when the dozen or so victims in Paynesville were all released within a few hours of their abductions. I believe Patty Wetterling also wants to have these answers after reading a few of her interviews over the last couple of years.
Another thing that upsets me, lately in the news the police in various jurisdictions are asking for the publics help in numerous missing person cases such as Brian Sullivan, Brittanee Drexel, the Lyon sisters and Trudy Appleby. The police have claimed in all of these cases that family of the perpetrator knows what happened and where the bodies of these missing people are, but they will not come forward and in some cases have actually stonewalled the police. Another well-known case in Minnesota, the Reker sisters, the police are seeking information that could finally push them over the edge to get an arrest. The Reker sisters bodies were found relatively soon after their abduction, but the police said they still need someone to come forward with that last bit of information as to where the sisters were during a certain time frame. They just recently made a plea on the 42nd anniversary of their adduction saying that they know there are people in the community who know this information and have not come forward for whatever reason. They’ve also stated they have a good suspect(s) that are still alive. I have also been reading up on the case of Amy Mihalejvic lately and the police stated she had visited a nature or science observatory in the weeks or months preceding her abduction and murder. They were asking for more information from the public after releasing this information as well believing that it may be important to her case.
These parents, families, and communities need answers they need to know where their child or children are buried so they can finally lay them to rest properly and have some kind of resolution and be able to finally mourn.
It is quite disheartening to realize that there are so many people that would protect the murderer(s) of a child or even multiple children so that a family member(s) don’t go to prison. A couple of these cases the police have stated that the main suspect is even deceased and still family will not come forward to end the limbo that these parents/family live with everyday. I hope these families find the answers that they seek . But most of all I hope that these missing and all the missing get to come home whether they are alive or even if they have passed because no one deserves to be lost forever.
Some of what you said reminds me of the “truth and reconciliation commissions” after the genocide in Rwanda. The victims’ families agreed to them: they just wanted answers. They didn’t really care about punishing the perpetrators anymore, they just wanted to know what happened to their family members and where the bodies were. And so the perpetrators, if stood up and admitted their crimes and told the truth about everything, they got to go home at the end of the day. In the end they decided answers were more important.
If I found out one of my family members had done something like this, I’d turn them in. I’d probably feel awful about it but I’d turn them in.
I would turn in my own mother if my mother had confessed to me that she had murdered a child or children. I would not allow her to be free to possibly harm someone else’s child and brutally steal another child’s life from them. According to the police, in these cases the families have known for quite some time that their family member(s) committed the murder(s) the family member has reportedly confessed or the family member(s) saw what happened to the child and have still not come forward .
Truly heart breaking, but I am glad the parents finally got some answers and can bury their son properly and the murderer behind bars
i literally just watched an episode of The Hunt with John Walsh two nights ago that featured his case. His poor family, can’t imagine going through that kind of nightmare for almost 30 years.
My condolences go out to Jacob’s family and friends. I have known about his case for a very long time and am relieved that finally they know and he can have a dignified service for his earthly remains.
So terrible. 😦 I can’t say I am surprised, though…these cases usually turn out that way. RIP sweet boy.
I was in shock when I found out. I have followed this case for years and never thought I would see this day. The evil and tragedy has already happened, but I hope his body being found does give the Wetterlings closure and peace.
I am still numb from
This news. My goosebumps have goosebumps. This is the one case that has bothered me the most. The DA and law enforcement has some big time explaining to do. They had enough evidence to charge DH in the JS case but dropped it. The Paynesville assaults were grab n gropes in broad daylight so suspect couldn’t do much. Why did he kill Jacob? I don’t care if it was supposed accidental or not. This evil POS held on to this terrible dark secret for 27 years. Poor Jacob. His last moments alive must have been hell.
They’ve compared the remains with dental records. It’s Jacob.
How sad. I heard the news as I was preparing for bed and it hit me like a punch in the stomach, even though I figured Jacob was long gone already, it still didn’t mean the news wasn’t devastating. All child abductions are horrifying, but this one (gunpoint at nighttime, desolate road, 3 young kids) ranked right up at the top of scariest ones. A little known fact was that Jacob’s friend Aaron was also molested that night. I imagine him and Trevor (Jacob’s brother) must have been terrified. Sad case all the way around.
As horrible as this is, there has been some good to come from it. Laws were passed in MInnesota. Patty Wetterling has done a tremendous amount of work for missing children’s organizations. I believe all of that was instrumental in preventing other children from getting abducted, molested, etc.
A quick shout out to Joy Baker, who did a tremendous amount of research in the Paynesville incidents, which are probably connected to this case.
And I must say, I’m glad the Wetterling’s neighbor Dan Rassier can breathe a sigh of relief now. That poor guy has been unfairly accused and lived under a cloud of suspicion for years now when he didn’t do anything wrong, and in fact, tried to help the police by informing them of several occurrences that day when suspicious cars rode into his driveway. He is a model teacher who is beloved by the kids he teaches and would never do anything to harm any child.
For those that are unaware, there is a book about this case (which I finished reading not too long ago actually). The title of it is “It Can’t Happen Here.” It was also profiled on 20/20, and in fact, will be on my upcoming 20/20 disappearances set.
I can’t believe they found his remains! You hear/read the story and when the person is found it always astonishes me! 😲
I apologize if it’s in bad taste to mention another forum here, but most of the goings-on at Websleuths regarding this case is predictably ridiculous. People there are trying to get entire (long) threads completely eradicated from the internet after realizing their embarrassment of accusing the Wetterling’s neighbor Dan Rassier of being involved.
There was absolutely nothing to tie or even suggest that Dan Rassier was involved. He simply had the misfortune of living next to the Wetterling’s and have the abduction happen in his driveway, more or less. Now, the people on there are offering quick, simple apologies (and thinking that’s somehow sufficient) or are just flat-out trying to have their potentially libelous comments removed. It’s as if they went up to Rassier and said “Hey, remember that time I accused you of being a child murderer, child rapist and pedophile, when you really weren’t? Sorry about that, wanna go out for drinks later?”
Finding Jacob Wetterling’s body is a sad coda to a perplexing case. Let’s hope that the authorities can bring the perpetrator to justice. I too believe Dan Rassier needs to be completely exonerated. He tried to help, and had the bad luck to have the disappearance occur in his driveway.