I try to keep this blog pretty light hearted and don't get into social issues or current event very often. I feel compelled to write about Jacob tonight.
If you showed the picture above to a group of Minnesotans almost all of them would be able to identify it as Jacob Wetterling. I was only 4 years old when he disappeared in 1989, but I have known who he was as long as I can remember. The story garnered some national attention, but has been a huge mystery in Minnesota for almost 27 years. I remember seeing stories about every new lead on the news. Renewed hope each time to find him alive or to find out what really happened to him. Each time the trail went cold again. I thought we'd never know. Being a parent has drastically changed how I look at Jacob and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. I don't think you can truly imagine the utter devastation it would be to have your child taken and to not know what happened to them for decades. I am a ball of tears just thinking about the possibility.
But now Jacob has been found. He can be laid to rest by his mom, dad, brother, sisters and millions more who have hoped, wondered, prayed and mourned with them. The circumstances that led his discovery are horrifying. The now 53 year old man who abducted, molested and murdered him agreed to a plea deal that will give him a maximum of 20 years in prison. That seems ridiculous when you think about the 27 years of hell his family has lived through. But I am not angry or disappointed with that ending because Patty and Jerry Wetterling gave their blessing before federal prosecutors proceeded. Along with directing authorities to Jacob's body, he gave a courtroom account of Jacob's final moments. The tears once again flow as I read about what he endured. He was a confused and scared little boy that didn't understand what was happening or why. I pray that no child ever has to go through this again. I pray that his family can have some closure. I pray for this man and his family, who have to live with what he did.
I don't think I will ever forget Jacob. The legacy that has been left is unending. All we can do it try to make tomorrow a better day for those around us. Patty said it perfectly in a statement given yesterday.
"Everyone wants to know what they can do to help.
Say a prayer.
Light a candle.
Be with friends.
Play with your children.
Eat ice cream.
Help your neighbor.
That is what will bring me comfort today."
Let's do this for Patty. Let's do this for Jacob.