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Patty Wetterling’s memoir Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope to be Released October 17th | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


(KNSI) — The book written by the mother in the middle of Minnesota’s most famous missing child case detailing the untold story surrounding the search for her son and the hope that kept her going will be released on Tuesday.

Patty Wetterling’s memoir Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope also follows the family’s struggles during the 27 years they longed for answers.

In an exclusive interview with KNSI News, Wetterling says the book was eight years in the making, and her original idea was to keep Jacob’s story alive. “I started writing the book as yet another means of trying to find Jacob. It had been a very long journey. And we knew that we had to keep people watching and caring, he was still missing. But then suddenly, he was found.”

She added that writing was reflective and therapeutic: “I had never looked back. I was constantly looking forward. What do we need to do next? Who do we need to talk to? How can we keep this story alive? Because we can’t give up.”

She says the book is also about ensuring those who experience hardships can still find joy. “We’ve worked really hard in savoring that world that Jacob believed in and keeping it a part of who we are today. And that was part of writing the book. You can survive horrific things but don’t let whoever did that take away all of its good in the world. And all that still can be good in your life.”

Jacob Wetterling was taken on October 22nd, 1989, about a half mile from his St. Joseph home. After years with no leads, blogger Joy Baker took up the case and started writing about the abduction. She eventually had a chance encounter with Wetterling, and the two started working together. Baker’s dogged investigation led her to a series of disturbing assaults in Paynesville in 1987 and the sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy in Cold Spring in January 1989. Baker connected the dots, which led to a fresh look at the case by local and state agencies.

A man named Danny Heinrich was arrested in 2015 after child pornography was found in his Annandale home, and as part of a plea deal, he admitted to kidnapping and killing Jacob and, in 2016, agreed to tell authorities where he was buried. In exchange, Heinrich was not charged for what he did to Jacob.

Wetterling says her only goal was to find her son. “I’ll let the whole rest of the world deal with justice or whatever happens to the guy. I just was focused on Jacob.”

Heinrich was also never charged with the assaults in Paynesville because the statute of limitations ran out. He was sent to federal prison in the child porn case and is scheduled to be released in 2033.

Wetterling explains she decided early on not to let the man who took Jacob take anything else. “You can’t have my marriage. You can’t have my family. You can’t have my other three kids, and you can’t have the world that I knew and believed in. We fought really hard and we we held it together. It was a lot of work, but we held it together.”

Their grief was also turned into action by advocating for the families of missing and exploited children. The Wetterlings started the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to child safety education. She was also instrumental in enacting federal sex offender registration laws.

The book will be available online through the Minnesota Historical Society and at select bookstores.

Wetterling is holding a signing event at Bad Habit Brewing in St. Joseph on November 2nd and at the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore in St. Cloud on November 4th.

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