What’s next?

Hey peeps. Sorry for the long hiatus. I wish I could tell you I’ve been busy working on the next big thing, but the truth is, I’ve found myself in a weird limbo and I’m just starting to get a handle on everything that’s taken place in the past six weeks. It’s been a lot to absorb, and just when I think I have all the crazy tucked safely away, it bubbles up at the most random moments.

The other day, I came home from work to find a bunch of neighborhood boys playing football in the empty lot next to our house. I smiled as I recalled the days my own boys would play football in that lot with their friends. And then, out of nowhere, I was crying again.

Dang it.

I keep telling myself to get a grip. Stay focused. Suck it up buttercup. But, man… it’s been hard.

It helps to know I’m not alone in this. I’ve heard from so many others who have been grieving right alongside the Wetterlings. Even though we never knew Jacob, we FELT like we did. He was ours too… one of us… and what happened to him was so random and non-sensical, it could have happened to any one of our kids. That chord struck deep… and still does.

In response, we have circled our wagons around the Wetterling family, vowing to have their backs. The outpouring of support has been nothing short of amazing, and this has sustained them… truly. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder to be a Minnesotan.

Last night, my husband and I had the privilege of attending the Minnesota Wild home opener along with Jared Scheierl’s family and the Wetterling family. Before the start of the game, the Minnesota Wild honored Jacob by having each of his family members, one by one, hold up a #11 hockey jersey with each of the eleven traits displayed on the back. It was so moving and powerful; the entire crowd gave them a standing ovation.

In addition, fan favorite Zach Parise (who just happens to wear number 11 for the Wild), announced that he and his wife Alisha were donating $11,000 to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Foundation in Jacob’s honor.


As I watch and absorb all the love and kindness that Jacob has generated throughout the state and around the world, it inspires me to keep going… to try and use this blog to make a difference.

I’ve been contacted by several others with missing loved ones who have written and asked for my help. And while I would love to say yes to each and every one of them, I’m just not sure I’m ready to jump in again quite yet. Maybe soon. But for now, I may need to write about something shallow and happy for a while. I hope you’ll bear with me.

In the meantime, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been following along and #ThinkingJacob with me for the past six years. I truly believe we all made a difference.

NEXT: Jennifer’s story, part 2…


  1. I think Josh Guimond’s family needs some answers. There is just so little to go on, apparently. However, knowing that SCSD knew very early on that it was Heinrich in Jacob’s case but let the public believe they had no idea who it was and it was such a complete mystery, I wouldn’t be surprised if they know more than they’re telling us. Find Josh

  2. Please still hold Dan Rassier in your hearts also. Dan has also been struggling as has others. His life was changed for the worse 27 years ago.

  3. It has been a rough 6 weeks. Joy, I totally understand what you are saying about grieving and it popping up all the time. This situation has been traumatic. The Wetterlings are such graceful people. You all have done so much. You will get back to it when you’re ready.
    When you are, your readers will be there. Takes time.
    I’ll be reading when you are ready.
    Prayers to you all

  4. Heinrich should be forced to look at pictures and movies of Jacob 24/7…he should not be able to let his mind rest…..the guilt ( if he is even capable of that)…should consume him. They should have a movie screen set up right in front of his cell and play those movies of that sweet little boy over and over again!

  5. Janet Strandlie |

    Thank you, Joy!!

  6. How many serial killers and rapists are going about their lives, never being caught just like Heinrich was?
    How many have been caught, charged, convicted,
    then released because of some technicality or
    overcrowding? How many of those released
    have continued on with their behavior, under the
    “supervision” of a parole officer? Jaycee Dugard
    was held captive by a convicted sex offender, Phillip Garrison and his wife from 1991 until 2009. Phillip was on parole.

    It seems, we as a society, are to believe we are being protected by laws and law enforcement. It is obvious
    to me that we as “ordinary” citizens need to continue to
    be assertive, persistent and demand answers. It would
    be even better if law enforcement encouraged people
    to come forward and really listened, a little humility goes a long way. People will be less reluctant to get involved
    if they are really heard. Not just an “ok thanks, goodbye.”

    Also wanted to mention an 8 episode podcast about Jacobs investigation called “In the Dark” through American Public Media.
    Thanks Joy for your continued communication and
    bravery. It gives others courage to do the same.

  7. Sheila Sundberg |

    Shallow & Happy are definitely the way to go! Keep a smile on your face a laugh in your head & Love in your heart! God Bless!!

  8. Cathy Josefik |

    Keep going joy…sending love and energy your way..I would love to help with your next proect…I have a few rare gifts from GOD that enable me to help..with love from PA . Cathy

  9. Joy, I wanted to thank you and Jared again for your involvement in this case. Although you’ve never tooted your own horn, I feel that this case was solved because of your interest, dogged determination, and investigative skills, and because Jared was willing to come forward and work with you, and reach out to other survivors. Without you two playing a role, I don’t think this case would be solved in years, if ever.
    I also wanted to express my condolences to the Wetterlings again. I’m sure that they would rather have had nothing happen, and Jacob grow to adulthood like their other children, instead of going missing, and them suddenly being thrust into the media’s spotlight. However, since life didn’t work out that way, it’s “wonderful” (I’m unsure of what adjective to use there) and unselfish how Patty has committed herself to the cause of missing and exploited children. I don’t want to sound unfeeling or callous when I say that, but I’m sure that some good has come out of this terrible tragedy.
    There are many things that still bother me about this case though. I still have so many unanswered questions, although I know that the answers are moot and won’t bring Jacob back.
    I hope if the grieving interferes with your life too much, that you will seek counsel with someone who can help you. The same goes with Jared and the other victims, if they are feeling survivor’s guilt or having PTSD.
    Thank you again, and the best of luck with wherever Spirit moves you to go next. You have a gift (many, actually), and when the time is right, I think we’ll be hearing about you and from you again one day.

  10. ok what about brice lespisa he vanished on the way home to visit his parents his truck was found in a bad part of town or scott allen kleshulte i am positive hienrich was in on this and johny gosh and jeremy bright to

  11. I cannot help but cry reading your posts. I believe there are no coincidences in life. This was your purpose and you really helped figure out this painful puzzle. Everyone is so grateful for your courage but I can surely understand the letdown and pure grief. Unfathomable for the Wetterlings. Thank you.

  12. Joy, I have followed your blog for years. The work you did for bring Jacob home is unbelievable. The evidence you were able to pull, along with so many prayers has brought Jacob home. I know you didn’t do it to be praised, but your efforts are worth the praise. I’m the same age as Jacob. I remember the day he disappeared. It was haunting and it’s finally over…

    I grew up in Maple Grove. My older sister’s friend Amy Pagnac went missing in August 1989. She was 13 years old. Her disappearance, like Jacob, has been a mystery to the community. The facts (the ones released) just don’t line up. This case needs someone like you to dig…really dig. I’m guessing Jacob’s case didn’t make your life easier, but you felt you needed to press on. That dedication helped bring Jacob home. I mention Amy’s case because she needs someone like you to bring her home.

    I understand the need to take a break from researching missing people. I just thought I would mention Amy…just in case.

  13. Joy, today I told a friend the story of how Jacob finally came home. He is home because of you, Jared, and the other brave victims. 100% Without all of you it would never have happened. I could copy/paste what S.K.W. said above. I trust that you will reach out for help if you need it. And that you will be wise and take all of the time that you need – no rights or wrongs, no pressure. It’s YOUR time and YOUR healing on YOUR terms. You, Jared, the Wetterlings and precious Jacob continue to be in the MN community’s thoughts and prayers. Peace.

  14. I think you should come back down to Longboat and do another story down here! We share a love for the same favorite house! There are many circus lore stories down here that I have heard since moving down here that are fascinating- and you could get out of winter!

  15. I’m not surprised you’re grieving, drained, exhausted, time to let the loss take it’s course. You fought the good battle and now it’s time to rest. You owe the people who read your blog nothing. You played a part in finding Jacob and making sure he has a proper burial where his loved ones can visit rather than being left on the side of the road.

  16. I agree with Kyle. Josh Guimond needs to be found! I think this would be a great case to take on if you decide to take on another one….

  17. Joy I hope you get to spend this holiday season with your family and friends doing whatever you like and just enjoying yourself. I wish the same for Jared and his family. You’ve all been through the wringer and are more than entitled to enjoy yourselves doing happier things for a change.

    I hope this holiday season brings some happiness and peace for the Wetterling family as well since this is the first Christmas in 27 years that they will all be together; even though it’s not the way we all hoped. Jerry and Patty are remarkable people who could have taken a different path and been understandably angry and bitter but instead they chose to be positive and hopeful and in the end it helped bring Jacob home and bring hope to other people along the way. I hope they’re able to find some happiness too.

    Your readers will support you Joy whatever path you take, whenever you’re ready.

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