From a former Bulldog…

I received this comment from a “Former Bulldog” on my most recent blog this past Tuesday afternoon. It was so well done, I decided to publish it as its own post. Thank you for your compassion, Former Bulldog.

(Side note, the Bulldogs are Paynesville High School’s mascot. Their football team recently went undefeated this season and are heading into the Section playoffs. A state championship sure would be a great ending to a whirlwind year for this big-hearted town. Go Bulldogs!)


Former Bulldog | October 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I too have thought a lot about whoever took Jacob.

I think there’s a good chance he reads this blog.

I don’t know if he took Jacob and kept him; I tend to think like Patty wrote that maybe he meant to let him go but something went wrong.

I grew up in Paynesville, in town, and am around Jacob’s age. I remember Chester the Molester, as we kids called him. I thought he was a figment of our imagination until finding this blog back in May. I had always connected Chester in my head to whoever took Jacob. It was shocking to me to discover this summer that not only was Chester real, but we kids were very possibly right in our hunch that it was Chester who got Jacob.

Did you know we called you that, Jacob’s abductor, if that was you, and if you’re reading this? We thought you were a monster and maybe you wanted us to think that. Maybe you still want us to think that. Now that I am an adult with kids of my own, I know that you aren’t a monster, because monsters don’t exist. What you are is broken, and you did some very broken things.

I’m pretty sure you were abused yourself as a child, that things happened to you that very much shouldn’t have happened. Things that weren’t okay. Did you know that? That they weren’t okay? Or did they happen so often that it seemed normal to you? Or is it complicated? Was there anyone who showed you love? Was it the person who showed you love who did the things to you that children should be shielded from? Or was there no love and only horrible things, and you have spent your life trying to get rid of the pain of your early years by doing similar things to children?

While I no longer believe you are a monster, you are still a figment of my imagination. I have no idea who you are or if any of that was true for you. If horrible things happened to you, as a mother, I want to say: I am so sorry that stuff happened to you that you felt you had to do horrible things back. The things you did weren’t right, and the things done to you weren’t right. If you were a part of our community, I am sorry that our community failed you, that it didn’t have the tools to deal with someone with your level of pain. But you weren’t alone in that: it didn’t have the tools to deal with your first victims in Paynesville either, which is why that article in the Paynesville Press went unnoticed by our teachers and parents.

You taking Jacob changed all that.

You taking Jacob set in motion a vast course correction within the community. The Wetterlings, somehow, miraculously, through their pain, were able to set up their foundation and set up the Sex Offender Registry, and since Jacob’s abduction, there is just no way that an article like that in the paper will ever go unnoticed by teachers or parents again. This is something we talk about now. There were teachers and faith leaders taken out of the game because of their sexual abuse, but only after you took Jacob. Victims feel more able to come forward. Justice happens more and more when they do. It is a different world, post-Jacob, I mean it still happens. But hopefully not as much and hopefully there is more help when it does happen and hopefully people don’t feel like their only option is silence or perpetrating the abuse.

I would imagine you felt really powerless, as a child. I would imagine that your actions as an adult were about getting power back: having power over the terrified boys, having the power of surprise as you laid in wait, having the physical strength to outrun them and overpower them and scaring them into doing what you wanted…

I propose to you that that isn’t real power, what you felt when you attacked those boys and when you took Jacob. It was fake. It was a temporary feeling of adrenalin, and I’ll bet your actions made you feel worse in the end. Do you know what I think real power is? Real power is the ability to heal and transform yourself. Do you know who has real power? Your victims, the ones who were able to take what had happened to them and work with it and make their lives better not just despite it, but because of it, like what the Wetterlings did, and like what Jared did. Those are people who are truly powerful, my friend. Take a look at them if you want to learn about power.

There is no doubt that you are powerful, even though I believe your actions hurt you most of all. Look at what you have created. You took Jacob and the entire community changed. Even 25 years after the fact, your actions were so powerful that Joy created this blog and people are talking and thinking about it still. Maybe your taking Jacob was a cry for help, even if not a conscious one, help for you and people like you, and look: what you did had the consequence, in a twisted way, of helping.

But you yourself still need help. There are people who can help you, but they can’t help you if they don’t know who you are.

You are probably an old man by now, but it is not too late for you to experience true power. You are the one who took Jacob, you can bring him back. You can talk to the Wetterlings, and tell them what happened to their son. Tell them where he his. If he is dead you can’t bring him back, but you can bring him home. Speak. It will transform your life. It will be a kind of redemption for you, but I believe it is the only way. You have the power to do it; you are the only one who does. Save yourself. By speaking, you have the power to heal not only yourself and the Wetterlings and the Paynesville victims and all of us who have been so affected by this case, but I also believe you have the power to heal backwards and forwards in time, so that the healing extends to the people who did this to you, and also to future generations.

That is a lot of power. Use it.

NEXT: The men in the woods…


  1. I’ve thought of the Wetterlings and Jacob all week. This blog has been wonderful in keeping Jacobs story alive. The post above from the former Bulldog was incredible. Thank you! I am a mother of two and cannot imagine the pain the Wetterlings have gone through. Peace be with them. From Dallas, Texas.

  2. Wow, so powerful… i was in college when Jacob was taken.Hung fliers every where I could. Met Patty when my sons were 11 and 8. She is an amazing person.I now live in FL but still follow all Jacob news. She is amazing what she has done! I feel her pain everyday and say prayers for Jacob all the time.Thanks for keeping Jacob alive!

  3. Excellent!

  4. I think this is beautifully written. I struggle with bitterness, and I wouldn’t be able to write something like this.

    I hope the predator does lurk on the computer, and maybe this post will touch him enough to make him break.

    Unfortunately, they may read, but their blood runs cold, and they may never reveal what happened. This is when the justice system can help.

    My heart aches for the Wetterling family, and I pray that they will know something soon!

    I do not think justice has served the Wetterlings well, and in the short time I’ve learned about this Wetterling case, I fear multiple leads have not been followed up on, and I fear more is going on than we know.

    Pedophiles have people who cover for them, even people in the justice system. This is because pedophiles are everywhere, and they protect each other. After talking with various experts, this is more common than people understand.

    I hope outside investigators are involved now, and that the Sterns County Sheriff’s office allows this to happen.

    I’m happy to see so many people on this blog trying to help find answers for the Wetterlings.

  5. This blog and this comment is so incredibly helpful to those of us who still, after all these years, still think of Jacob, and now that we know about them, the Paynesville victims. I do not live anywhere near St. Joseph or even Minnisota for that matter, but I have never forgotten about what happened to Jacob. My own children were younger than Jacob at the time he left. I could only imagine the Wetterlings pain. My heart ached for them. I only have the utmost respect for them and the courage they have shown all of us over the years. How gentle and caring their hearts are for other children, when their own child had the most horrific event happen to him. God Bless the Wetterlings, Jacob’s siblings, and Aaron. Their little hearts broke back on that day in 1989 and they have had to live with this and the pain of never knowing. I only wish and pray that someday, in the very near future, they finally learn what really happened that fateful night. They have always had the right to know. It’s the very least we can ask for them.

    God Bless you Joy for keeping Jacob and his story alive. It helps so many people like myself. It also helps in the hope that by the constant awareness of Jacob’s story, perhaps the coward who took him from the loving arms of his family will finally find the courage to come forward. Or, perhaps that one person who knows something will finally step forward. I have always felt, like so many others, that someone knows something. Keep up the good work Joy. So many of us are counting on you to help bring Jacob home.

  6. BringJacobHome |

    Wow… That was TRULY inspired by the Holy Spirit.

  7. Bulldog was right, Jacob disappearing changed they way every parent raised their kids. When I was a kid, we rode our bikes everywhere. After Jacobs abduction, parents drove there kids to every activity. They want their kids to be safe. When I was young, all our activities happened during the day while our parents were at work. Now, everything happens in the evenings. Our parents have changes their work lives to bring their kids to their activities. All because Jacob was taken.
    Chester, if you are reading this, you need to come forward. The Wetterlings deserve it, we all deserve it. You need help, you need peace. We will all be better, including you!

  8. WOW! Thanks for sharing, and Joy…you are still amazing!

  9. Wonderful comments Bulldog and thanks for Keeping Jacob in the spotlight Joy.

  10. Excellent post former bulldog. If that doesn’t speak right to the heart of the perpetrator, I don’t know what will.

  11. Has anyone checked into suicides after Jacobs’s disappearance? Perhaps the abduction crossed a line, and the perpetrator took his own life.

  12. Very good article. I pray for a answer to what happened to Jacob.

  13. This is an excellent perspective and I’m so glad you shared it on the blog. I have long hated and resented that we all lost our innocence after Jacob was taken. I have resented how it changed parenting, and childhood, so much that freedom has been taken away. But Former Bulldog is right that this stuff has always gone on, and it needed to be noticed. Justice needs to be served, and parents and teachers need awareness. I still dislike how childhood is so much less free than it was when I was a kid in the 70s, but this gives me a new way to think about it. Thank you!

  14. I think of Jacob a lot… actually… I just thought of him now as I heard of a new TV series called “Missing.”
    I was 7 when he went missing, and I lived in St. Paul, and I remembered being glued to the TV, horror struck that a kid could get kidnapped. It was the first time that a news story ever completely got my attention. When my parent’s had the news on, I watched to hear if they found him… and throughout the years I’ve thought about how much I wished, for his family’s sake, that he would be found, in any way, just so they can have answers.

    It’s interesting stumbling upon your blog and reading that others are still wondering, still searching. We may never know… but he’s in many of our minds.

  15. Cheryl Opbroek |

    To the boys that were abducted in Paynesville: Also Jennifer could also answer some of these questions. Do you remember any smells about the abductor? Such as ciggarette smoke, cigar smoke or pipe tobacco smoke on his breath or clothing? How about food smells such as garlic, onions, hot sauce. How about the smell of Mexican food, Chinese food, things like Doritos’s. How about his teeth if you saw them were they large, small, straight, or missing or broken teeth? Also, did he have stained or yellowed teeth? Was he sucking on candy, chewing gum, sunflower seeds, or were there any wrappers on the floor? These things could suggest he may have a habit. A habit, that someone who has not come forth with information yet, might recognize. It might trigger their memory. Do you remember any smells, coming from his clothing, or the smells in the automobile? Are there any occasions where you are reminded of this horrid experience that are triggered by your smell or touch or something else? It might be possible to trip somebody’s memory. Nothing is to small to be overlooked. How about chewing on a toothpick? How about his fingernails, were they manicured, rough or broken, dirty or with machine oil under the nails? How about his clothing did you see any rips, tears, missing buttons? Was his clothing all buttoned up, or misbuttoned? Did his clothing look odd together, such as different types of fabrics, any type of patterns to the garments. Were the clothes odd for anyone to be wearing at that time of year? Such as to heavy or to light for the weather? Did your clothing, when you got home, have any odd fibers on them that you can remember?
    I am very sorry that this happened to all of you. I hope and pray that this abductor can be found or will turn himself in.

  16. Is anyone contacting the media with concerns about a possible cover-up locally? I have spoken at length with someone who is very familiar with pedophiles and their modus operandi. Sometimes the Media can force the hand of justice.

    This is not a time for patience, which has been worn down long ago, as I’m sure Patty Wetterling knows well. This is a time for everyone to work together, or this will never be solved. Jared sat with a forensic sketch artist, and a sketch was made for a reason. This is what needs to be on billboards, and they need to age the man in the sketch to around 70 years old, as this would be his age now. Why would they just keep the billboards local? Everyone in the community knows about this. These billboards need to be in several states. Are local authorities just trying to appease those that need more answers?

    They have to let go of the idea that this predator is local. I’m not saying he’s not, but in my opinion, I don’t know if a local would abduct a boy. Where would he put him? If he murdered him, I would think he would have been found years ago. I think Jacob was taken somewhere else.

    I don’t understand how this hasn’t gotten more national attention, especially since Joy has researched this, and found all these other abductions and sexual assaults in the same vicinity. Yes, this was on “The Hunt”, but I have heard nothing on the national news since.

    The pedophiles and sex traffickers seem to have free rein, and I don’t see enough outrage! There’s so much coverup, and the public has to be very vigilant in asking why so many pedophiles walk free. The public needs to be willing to show up on the door step of the county Sheriff’s office, or prosecutor’s office, and ask questions. Parents need to be more willing to have a discussion, and to be open to educating their child about predators. Back in the 70s and 80s, this was something that eluded many, but today, this is a different world, and this is certainly a subject that needs further addressing.

    There’s thousands of these predators, and there’s clubs of them. They protect each other, and many are in high positions, and don’t be surprised if the very people we reach out to, are pedophiles themselves. I thought this was too much conspiracy thinking on my end, but an expert who used to work for the FBI said I was straight on, and he said pedophiles can have careers ranging from judges to teachers.

    Get the national media to the Sterns County Sheriff’s office for a press conference? Having the exposure may cause the predator to get shaken up enough to expose himself. Most of all, multiple outside investigators need to be involved.

  17. Julie their are two cities right next to st. joseph st. cloud and waite park. That’s around 60,000 people and given that there is a make up of college students that probably aren’t all from the area and also whether or not they were probably didn’t stay around after college. So you have a growing population that is also constantly losing its residents as well. Meaning there is a high possibility of the abductor living in an area where the residents don’t stay around long thus not having enough time to really meet him and get to know him. I don’t believe there is any cover up or anything like that. There would be more financial benefit in leaking the truth than there would be hiding it. That kind of information is a get out of jail free card to anyone who isn’t the abductor. Any cop who knew that could just stage an event that made it look like they stumbled upon the evidence to solve the case and be a hero and go anywhere they wanted to. Not sit around the same old town. And no this guy is not going to get shaken up no one would be shaken up if they went 25 years without getting caught. You couldn’t go 25 years with guilt written all over your face. I think he could very well still be in st. cloud because it would have been hard to move around with Jacob. That and I think he had it planned out. If he just did it out of opportunity sake and just happened to be in the area why didn’t he take the opportunity of not having any witnesses and keep Jared? I agree they could spread out the billboards but I would jump to say this guy lives out of state you have to realize how hard and noticeable it would be to uproot right after a crime like this. He’s not going to want to transfer or quit is job and then cancel his lease or sell his house right after abducting a kid. We can even partially assume he might have some family of friends in the area and not want to leave them or want them to think something is up maybe put too much together. You want everything to look like business as usual with people that really know you. So he wouldn’t want to move away he would want to figure out how he could avoid having people he knows come over and find him. And maybe that was the easy part. Maybe no one ever did bother to go and see him. Maybe the reason there wasn’t anything prior to 86 is because of his family. Maybe they moved out of the area and he was free from them. Either way if he was one to move around he would have done it more when he was attacking so they weren’t all so close together. I don’t think he intended on having so many victims. I think it initially was just a kidnapping when he asked the kid if he wanted to go to toyland. That’s pretty much when it all started. I think the guerrilla like attacks at night just sort of happened being that he was still new to it. I don’t think the gap in 88 is a result of anything I think he just stopped himself before he got to carried away. I mean seriously how many kids would have to get attacked before 50 cops were patrolling the town at night? He kind of had to give Paynesville a break.

  18. Anything to update Joy? I come back here quite often and things have seemed to slow down quite a lot.

  19. joy.the.curious |


    Thanks for checking back. I am working on a new blog post that should be coming out this weekend. I have some new information to share about a suspect who was seen in the woods near Jacob’s house just prior to his abduction. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

  20. When I talked with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, I think they said over 200 leads were called in since the show “The Hunt” aired on CNN. Thanks to Joy, and her research, I think they have more to work with now.

    I hope the find the predator, whoever it is!

    Thanks for all you do Joy!

  21. Thank you Joy. Thank you John Walsh. Thank You CNN for airing the story again tonight.

  22. Profoundly written and true.
    Thank you.

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