Posts by joy.the.curious
Last summer, I met and interviewed Jared for the first time. He was the 12 year old boy from Cold Spring, Minnesota who was abducted and assaulted in a town just 12 miles away and only nine months prior to Jacob Wetterling’s abduction from St. Joseph. (If you missed Jared’s story, read it here.)
Not long after I met Jared, I discovered an article in a 1987 edition of the Paynesville Press that talked about five recent attacks on young teenage boys. In that article, local police were asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who had been attacking and accosting boys between the ages of 12-16. The first incident took place in the summer of 1986, followed by two more in the winter of 1987, and then two more in the spring of 1987.
The five incidents that were mentioned in the article sounded eerily similar to both Jacob’s and Jared’s attacks. In the article, Sergeant Bill Drager (now deceased) stated, “After this guy grabs the boys he tells them, ‘Don’t turn around or I’ll blow your head off.’”
Here’s a map I created so I could get a better sense of where all these attacks took place:
View Paynesville Incidents, 1986-1989 in a larger map
Since learning about these cases, Jared and I have been working very hard to find answers. In January, Jared wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Paynesville Press, asking for the public’s help in finding the victims of these attacks, or anyone with details that might link his case to these. After many months of gathering research, talking to residents, and tracking down victims, we finally have an update to report.
The stories are startling.
Victim #1 was attacked at about 12:45am on February 14, 1987… Valentine’s Day. He lived in an apartment above one of the downtown buildings, and had just returned home from dropping off a friend. When he opened the door to the building, a man was standing on the stairway that led to the upstairs. He was wearing a dark blue down-filled coat, and a “candy-striped face mask” that looked like it had been made out of short shag carpet. The suspect grabbed the boy by the neck and threw him to the floor. When he started to scream for help, the suspect told him to be quiet or he would kill him. After molesting the boy, the man asked what grade he was in, then stole his wallet and took off running. He was about 5’10″ to 5’11″, kind of heavyset, and spoke in a deep whisper. The boy guessed his age to be mid-30s and felt he had been waiting for him to come home.
Victim #2 was riding his bike home after dark on a weekend night and was attacked in the alley between the middle school and the hospital. He was dragged into some pine trees and molested. After the attack, the suspect pulled out a pair of scissors and cut off a lock of the boy’s hair. The man then told him to run away and not look back or he would blow his head off.
Victim #3 was attacked while he and his friend were riding their bikes just after midnight near the hockey rink at the Catholic church. The boy thought he heard someone running into the street when suddenly, someone grabbed him by the throat and pulled him off his bike. The boy screamed while his friend went for help. This time the man was wearing dark blue or black clothing and his face was blacked-out. The boy continued to scream, and finally the man let him go and ran away. (NOTE, there are two very important details about this attack. First, this victim is the same person as Victim #1. It turns out he was attacked twice. Second, the victim felt he was not the intended target for this second attack because he lived six blocks away, but his friend lived in an apartment just kiddie-corner from the Catholic church.)
Victim #4 was also attacked while he was returning home after dark. He was 14 years old and had been hanging out downtown with his 16 year old brother. It was September 1987 and their parents were away for the weekend, so their older brother (age 19-20) was staying with them to watch over the house. The family lived off River Street on Lyndall Avenue, just blocks from downtown. The younger brother was on his bike, and as he neared the alley that led down the hill to his house, he thought he saw someone dart across the dark alley. By this time, all the kids knew about “the molestor,” so he got scared and started biking slower, waiting for his brother to catch up. When he saw him coming, he continued on his way, left his bike in the yard, and started up the porch steps. Just then, he heard someone bump into the aluminum lawnchairs on the porch. Terrified, he took off running back up the alley, being chased by the suspect. When the boy reached his older brother up on the street, the suspect suddenly stopped when he saw there were two of them. Luckily, he was directly under a streetlight where the boys could get a good look at him. While they were unable to identify his face because it was blacked out, they have a vivid memory of what he was wearing. He had on an old 70s-era parka – the kind with a fuzzy hood and bright orange lining. It was unzipped, so they’re clear about the color of the lining. I’ve included a sample photo below. (NOTE, what’s important about this attack is that it occurred AFTER the original five incidents that were mentioned in the newspaper article. So, four months after police had already warned the public about this guy and asked for their help in finding him, he was STILL attacking kids in the same town using the same M.O.)
So, of the five cases mentioned in the article, we have now found the victims of three of them, plus a new one altogether. We are still missing information about the attack that took place at the middle school playground, and the one that was “down by the river.”
What’s most disturbing about these cases is that they were not random. In every case we found, the victim was either attacked at or near his own home. The suspect knew who the boys were, where they lived, and when they would be on their way home. Also, it’s interesting to note that the attacks all happened after dark on a weekend night, after the boys had been hanging out downtown. Papa’s Pizza was a popular hangout because of the arcade games.
Prior to these cases, there was also another incident that took place in 1986 by G&T Foods in downtown Paynesville. Here’s the text from the article that ran in the April 1, 1986 edition of the Paynesville Press:
On March 9, 1986, the police department received a report of a possible attempted child abduction. While walking near G&T Foods, a 12-year-old boy was asked if he wanted a ride, then asked if he wanted to go to “toyland”. The boy said “no” to both questions and continued walking. The suspect’s car was described as and old blue four-door, square in size.
We’re hoping that by sharing these stories, someone might come forward with a piece of information that could help solve these cases, and possibly Jared’s and Jacob’s as well. We are especially thankful to the young men who were willing to share their stories with us for this article.
Anyone with information is encouraged to leave a comment below, or call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240.
Thanks to all of you who have been following my Jacob Wetterling story. It’s been almost a year since I started this blog topic (the second time around), after I was contacted by Dan Rassier last January. Since that time, I have learned a lot about this case, thanks in part to witnesses like Dan, Kevin, and Jared who have been willing to share their stories with me.
From the beginning, my goal has been to stick to the facts and eliminate wrong or misleading information. So far, this has worked out well. I truly believe this case is solvable, but only if people are willing to come together and share their stories.
Times have changed a lot since 1989. Information moves faster than ever before, and we must take advantage of this because, unfortunately, time is not on our side.
Next fall will mark the 25th anniversary of Jacob Wetterling’s abduction. However, one week from today, on January 13, 2014, we will also observe another important milestone in this case… the 25th anniversary of Jared’s abduction. He was “the other boy” – the 12 year kid from Cold Spring who was abducted and assaulted 9 months prior to Jacob.
I’ve gotten to know Jared over the past several months, and as we’ve collaborated on his case, I’ve noticed him evolve from a casual contributor to an impassioned man on a mission. In fact, it was his persistence that led me to discover an article from a 1987 issue of the Paynesville Press that mentioned five other cases of assaults on young boys that sounded surprisingly similar to his own. (If you missed that blog post, read it here.)
Since that time, Jared has been working closely with the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department to learn more about these cases from 1986-1987. Unfortunately, eyewitness accounts have been lost or destroyed over time, so Jared is now reaching out to the public for help.
Just this week, Jared submitted an article to the Paynesville Press that will run in tomorrow’s paper. I’m including a copy of the article below, as well as a Google map which shows the approximate locations of each of the 1986-1987 incidents. (I compiled this information from archived newspaper articles and input from longtime Paynesville residents.)
We are hoping this information will shed new light on these cases and bring renewed hope to the victims. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office 320-251-4240 (answered 24/7), or email email@example.com (reviewed daily).
View Paynesville Incidents, 1986-1989 in a larger map
On Friday, January 13, 1989 I was the victim of an assault. I was 12 years old and lived in Cold Spring at the time. An unknown man approached me in a car, asked for directions, and abducted me. Twenty-five years have passed and I’ve dealt with many emotions through the years… a time of being scared, a time of anger, a time of solitude and loneliness, a time of resolution… but still waiting for closure. I’ve learned to deal with my past. I moved on, but never forgot. Recently I discovered that Paynesville had some similar incidents take place back in 1986-1987. There were at least five attacks on 12-16 year old boys with details similar to mine. I’ve been investigating these attacks and am trying to learn more details from victims or anyone else who lived in the community at the time. Paynesville is a small town. People know people. I hope something may come from this. The similarities between the cases are as follows: Around the same time these attacks happened, there was a sexual predator from around the area who was arrested and convicted in 1990. He is still locked up. He had a history of using drugs or alcohol to subdue his victims. Over the years, I did line-ups with this man and was questioned extensively to see if I would recognize him. He was never charged in my case and, to this day, he denies any involvement. So who did this? I’m at the point in my life where I’m wondering if I’ve done everything I can to help solve this investigation. I would like to find and talk to these other victims. Maybe it seems like it’s easier to forget and move on, but we need to understand we’re a part of something bigger. Because of the similarities of our two cases, I’ve been involved with the Jacob Wetterling investigation for 24 years. Now I need your help. The only way these cases are going to get solved is by people coming together and sharing their stories. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office needs new statements from victims. Anyone who knows any information about the incidents in 1986-1987, or any other attempted attacks, is encouraged to come forward. Twenty-five years ago, this man left me with these words, “It’s OK to talk about this, but if they come close to finding me, I’ll find you after school and kill you… before they find me. Now run, and don’t look back or I’ll shoot.” I have lived with the stress of this event all my life, and in ways, it defines who I am. I suspect other victims live with the same stress, and I would like to speak with them. People with information can call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240. If you are a victim, they will refer you to me.
Embracing the Past
On Friday, January 13, 1989 I was the victim of an assault. I was 12 years old and lived in Cold Spring at the time. An unknown man approached me in a car, asked for directions, and abducted me. Twenty-five years have passed and I’ve dealt with many emotions through the years… a time of being scared, a time of anger, a time of solitude and loneliness, a time of resolution… but still waiting for closure.
I’ve learned to deal with my past. I moved on, but never forgot.
Recently I discovered that Paynesville had some similar incidents take place back in 1986-1987. There were at least five attacks on 12-16 year old boys with details similar to mine. I’ve been investigating these attacks and am trying to learn more details from victims or anyone else who lived in the community at the time. Paynesville is a small town. People know people. I hope something may come from this.
The similarities between the cases are as follows:
Around the same time these attacks happened, there was a sexual predator from around the area who was arrested and convicted in 1990. He is still locked up. He had a history of using drugs or alcohol to subdue his victims. Over the years, I did line-ups with this man and was questioned extensively to see if I would recognize him. He was never charged in my case and, to this day, he denies any involvement.
So who did this? I’m at the point in my life where I’m wondering if I’ve done everything I can to help solve this investigation. I would like to find and talk to these other victims. Maybe it seems like it’s easier to forget and move on, but we need to understand we’re a part of something bigger.
Because of the similarities of our two cases, I’ve been involved with the Jacob Wetterling investigation for 24 years. Now I need your help. The only way these cases are going to get solved is by people coming together and sharing their stories. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office needs new statements from victims. Anyone who knows any information about the incidents in 1986-1987, or any other attempted attacks, is encouraged to come forward.
Twenty-five years ago, this man left me with these words, “It’s OK to talk about this, but if they come close to finding me, I’ll find you after school and kill you… before they find me. Now run, and don’t look back or I’ll shoot.”
I have lived with the stress of this event all my life, and in ways, it defines who I am. I suspect other victims live with the same stress, and I would like to speak with them. People with information can call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240. If you are a victim, they will refer you to me.
Villa am Meer being restored by new developerFor those who have been following my Jacob Wetterling story, I apologize for this short digression back to a former blog topic, but this is big news. In fact, this news is so great that I just can’t stop smiling today.
I woke up this morning to find an email from Chet Pletzke, a member of the Longboat Key Historical Society. He sent me a link to a newspaper article that appeared in today’s Real Estate section of the SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE. The article is about the development of the Villa am Meer property and it mentions my blog.
For those of you who are new to my blog, or for those who have only happened-upon it because of my Jacob Wetterling story, you may have missed how this blog came into existence in the first place. It’s called “Joy the Curious” for a reason… and it all started with my curiosity about a weather-beaten beach house located on Longboat Key, Florida. If you haven’t already, I invite you to read the story from the beginning:
Last year, I was invited to be a speaker as part of the Longboat Key Historical Society’s annual lecture series. In case you missed it, here’s a link to that presentation:
Now then, back to today’s newspaper article in the SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE. The big, great news is… drum roll please… Villa am Meer has been sold and the property is being developed by an experienced builder who is committed to restoring the historic beachfront home. Villa am Meer has been saved. And, there’s a small piece of me that would love to believe that all the hard work I put into researching and writing about the property might have helped… if even a little… to save it from the wrecking ball.
And THAT’S why I can’t stop smiling.
When I started this blog in 2010, I found myself smack in the middle of a mid-life crisis. I knew I was ready for a career change, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. I wanted to write, and for some reason, more than anything, I wanted to write about this ramshackle beach house. My curiosity became intense, and I just couldn’t let the story go. I kept on and on, and I couldn’t explain why. All I knew for sure is that writing about Villa am Meer just felt good… and right.
At the time, I had no idea where all this would lead… and I still don’t for that matter. But today, all I know for sure, is that when I walk down the beach this March… and next March, and the March after that… Villa am Meer will still be there. And maybe, just maybe, my blog had a little something do with that.
So, for anyone else out there who currently finds themselves smack in the middle of a mid-life crisis, I have just one little piece of advice. Trust your gut. Do what feels good and right. Follow your passion, and pay attention to the Godbumps along the way. You might not understand it at the time, but good things will come when you follow your heart.
It’s that day again… October 22. A few years ago, this day would have come and gone without much thought on my part. Another day, another dollar, another deadline. However, since I started blogging about a certain story three years ago, October 22 now holds a special place in my heart.
That’s because today — October 22, 2013 — marks the 24th anniversary of Jacob Wetterling’s abduction.
Twenty four years? How can that possibly be? It’s hard to believe, but Jacob would be 35 years old today. That smiley kid in the yellow shirt would be 35 years old. But, instead of running his kids to football practice or lamenting over the debut of our new Vikings quarterback, Jacob remains a memory… forever 11 years old… never aging… and never found.
When I first started writing about Jacob three years ago, I was hopeful I could somehow make a difference. I really believed if I could talk to the right people, get the facts straight, and keep the conversation going, that maybe someone somewhere might hold the key that could unlock this 24 year old mystery.
No go. After a lot of effort, the facts remains the same. Jacob remains missing. The case remains unsolved.
But today… maybe just maybe… the key is closer than we think.
Not long after I wrote my last blog post, “Jared’s story,” I was researching a different story when I ran across an old 1987 newspaper article from the Paynesville Press. (Paynesville is a small town about 30 miles from St. Joseph.)
It ran on the front page. Here’s the article:
Local police seek help in accosting incidents
The Paynesville Police Department is seeking public support in apprehending a man that has been accosting young men in the Paynesville community. So far there have been five different incidents reported.
Sergeant Bill Drager, Paynesville Police Department, said, “We need help, all the help we can get.”
According to Sgt. Drager, the incidents began last summer, there were two more incidents during the winter, one incident occured this spring and another last week.
The police are taking these incidents very seriously.
Sgt. Drager stated, “After this guy grabs the boys he tells them, ‘Don’t turn around or I’ll blow your head off’ and in at least one instance he used a knife.” The man then makes sexual advances to the boys.
The young men that have been assaulted range in age from 12-16 years of age. “The kids are scared,” Sgt. Drager said.
There doesn’t appear to be any pattern to the area that the attacks take place. One incident happened by the river, another in the hockey rink area, downtown Ben Franklin area, middle school playground, and the alley between the middle school and the hospital.
The last incident happened when two young men were riding their bikes home. One young man was grabbed off of his bike and the other young man went for help.
In every instance, the young men had been downtown before they were accosted. “It think he’s picking them out downtown and then following them home or lying in wait for them to go home,” Sgt. Drager said.
Every instance occurred on a weekend night after dark — between 9:30pm and 2:00am.
The suspect wore a mask on several occasions. Sgt. Drager said one young man described the mask as looking like it was made out of indoor-outdoor candy-striped carpeting.
The man is supposedly 5’11″ tall, not fat, but chunky. In the last incident, he had blackened everything — so that you couldn’t make out anything on his face. He can run fast, according to witnesses.
The police are encouraging people to call in if they see anything strange or suspicious. “If someone is lurking around or walking on your property — call us,” Sgt. Drager said. “We want calls — that’s preventative more than anything,” he added.
Sgt. Drager also said, “I don’t know if the public’s going to go for it or not, but we may have to go to a curfew.”
There really are not rules to follow if you are accosted. Sgt. Drager suggested, “Holler and run away if you can — it worked the last time.”
Sgt. Drager is also considering talking to the school administrators so that teachers can help make students aware of what is happening.”
These five assault cases took place between 1986 and 1987… the last one occurring just a year and a half before Jared was assaulted. If you read Jared’s story, you’re probably in full agreement that this has to be the same guy who assaulted Jared, and quite possibly the same guy who abducted Jacob. The M.O. is eerily similar… the hockey rink… kids downtown… threat of a gun… authoritative manner… stocky build…
I read the article to Jared over the phone, and he couldn’t believe it. He wanted to know more. So, I emailed the Stearns County Sheriff Department and told them Jared wanted to meet with them so he could learn more about his own case, and these five assault cases from 1987.
As it turns out, current investigators had never heard of these five cases.
Since then, a lot has happened. I can’t discuss all of it quite yet, but here’s how you can help. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department is actively trying to collect statements from these five boys who were assaulted in 1987. If you know any of these young men, please contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at 320-251-4240 (answered 24/7), or email firstname.lastname@example.org (reviewed daily). If you’d rather, you may also email me privately at email@example.com. Jared has also agreed to talk to any of the five men who would be willing to discuss their case with him.
As for the rest of us, here’s another way we can help. Today, in honor of Jacob Wetterling and all the other missing children, leave your front porch light lit throughout the day and “let your light shine:”
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE OCT. 22 FOR JACOB WETTERLING; ALL MISSING CHILDREN
The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center is asking individuals to commit to leaving a porch light lit on Tuesday, Oct. 22 to create hope and light in the world in honor of Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted on Oct. 22, 1989, in St. Joseph. The case remains open and unsolved. Jacob’s story has left an indelible mark on the hearts of thousands, if not millions, of people throughout Minnesota, the United States and the world.
JWRC has always asked families to leave a porch light on to honor Jacob on Oct. 22. In addition to turning on an outside light, JWRC encourages individuals to let their own lights shine. Help a neighbor, talk to your child about safety, support a local child-serving organization, the ideas are endless. There is no greater way to honor Jacob than to create a more hope-filled world.
It’s very rare an abductor comes forward to confess to a crime like this one. but in most cases, the abductor tells someone what they did. If you are able to shine a light into this case by coming forward to law enforcement with information that will lead to answers, JWRC encourages you to take that step. Leads on Jacob’s case can be called into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST.
The JWRC, originally called the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, was founded in 1990 by Patty and Jerry Wetterling following their son’s abduction near St. Joseph. (www.jwrc.org). JWRC has a proven history of educating families and communities to prevent sexual exploitation and abductions of children and also provides victim assistance to families of the missing.
Jacob’s legacy continues to be honored through JWRC, a program of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center. Their mission is to end all forms of child abuse, neglect and exploitation through training, education, advocacy, prevention and awareness, providing care and treatment for children, families and adults.
He was a twelve year old kid living in the small town of Cold Spring, Minnesota, when he was abducted and assaulted by a stranger one cold winter night in January 1989. The assault took place just ten months before Jacob Wetterling was abducted, in a town less than 10 miles away. And like Jacob, Jared’s abductor was never found.
- The guy was stocky, about 5′ 8″ with husky shoulders, and weighed between 180-190 pounds.
- He had a low-pitched, raspy voice.
- He had big ears that stuck out in the back.
- Early news reports stated that the man was wearing “military fatigues and black military boots,” but Jared discounts this description. “He didn’t look like he just came back from Fort Ripley or anything,” he said. The man’s pants were baggy… like cargo pants, possibly military-issued… but not “camouflaged.”
- He had a portable police scanner that resembled a big walkie talkie. It sat on the console between the front seats. At one point, one of the responding officers unclipped his police radio from his belt and showed it to Jared. “Like this?” he asked. “Yeah, like that,” Jared replied.
- The car was a mid-to-late 80s, dark-colored, 4-door sedan, with automatic transmission. The shifter was on the steering wheel.
- At one point, the man told Jared not to bother trying to get out because the back seat had child safety locks.
- The FBI became involved and took over the interviews.
- Jared was taken to several different auto dealers and asked to sit in the back seats of many cars, trying to find one that seemed familiar.
- Every time a new pedophile was arrested, Jared was asked to come in and view another mugshot.
- He participated in at least two lineups.
- He took a lie detector test and submitted DNA.
- If Jared’s attacker was in his late 40s or early 50s in 1989, he’d be about 65-70 years old now.
- He seemed to know his way around Cold Spring and Richmond pretty well, taking the back roads, rather than the main highway.
- He drove a newer 4-door sedan, similar to a Chevy Celebrity or Buick Century with child safety locks in the back seat.
- He was controlling and authoritative, with a deep raspy voice.
- At what point did Jared’s attacker begin following him? After school? At the ice rink? At the cafe?
- Why did this guy have a portable police scanner? Was he in law enforcement? An EMT? Security guard?
- Why was he wearing clothing that looked “military-issued?” Was he a veteran?
- Did he intentionally seek out and purchase (or rent) a car that had child safety locks in the back seat?
- Was he a religious man or clergy member who became remorseful when he heard Jared reciting the Lord’s Prayer?
- Was he a regular at the Red Carpet?
I had a chance to meet Jared a few weeks ago, and we’ve talked several times since. He agreed to talk to me in the hopes that, even after 24 years, one small overlooked detail might be all it takes to jog someone’s memory and unlock this 24 year old mystery… and possibly Jacob’s as well.
Here is his story.
On January 13, 1989 (Friday the 13th), Jared was ice skating with a group of friends at an outdoor ice rink at Pioneer Park in Cold Spring. There were about ten of them in all – a mixture of guys and girls – and Jared was on his first date with his 7th grade girlfriend. After skating, the kids decided to go to the Side Cafe downtown for some hot chocolate and a bite to eat. Sometime between 9:30-9:45pm, they started heading for home. One of the other parents offered Jared a ride, but he declined. “That’s OK,” he told them. “I can walk.” It was only a quarter mile or so. No biggie.
As he was walking home along the sidewalk, a man in a car approached him going the opposite direction. The man stopped, rolled down his window, and asked Jared if he knew where the Kraemers lived. (They were a well-known family in Cold Spring at the time – business owners – who lived just a few houses away from Jared.) As he was approaching the car giving directions, the man stepped out of the vehicle, seemingly interested in what Jared was telling him. “Yeah, just go down this block,” Jared said, pointing, with his back to the man. Suddenly, the man grabbed Jared’s shoulders from behind, told him he had a gun “and wasn’t afraid to use it.” Next, the man told Jared to pull his stocking hat over his eyes, and forced him into the back seat. He was very authoritative and spoke in a deep, gravely voice.
“This can’t really be happening,” Jared remembers thinking to himself. “This must be a joke.”
The guy drove him around for a while, heading west on the back roads toward Richmond. He finally stopped at a secluded spot about four miles away. (Ironically, a church stands close to that spot today.)
The assault lasted about 20 minutes. When it was over, Jared’s abductor suddenly got angry and said he was late for an appointment at the Red Carpet. (Though Jared was too young to know it at the time, the Red Carpet was – and still is – a popular bar/nightclub in St. Cloud, about 20 miles away.)
Jared remained in the back seat while they headed back toward Cold Spring. Then, Jared did something he thinks may have saved his life. Quietly, under his breath, he began to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
The man asked Jared if he knew who he was. Jared said he did not. “It’s OK to talk about this,” the man said. “But if they ever come close to finding out who I am, I’ll find you after school, and I’ll kill you.”
He stopped the car just outside of Cold Spring, at the top of Bell’s Hill, about two miles from Jared’s house. The man grabbed Jared out of the back seat, and told him to run. “Don’t look back or I’ll shoot,” he told him.
Jared ran. All the way home. The only time he stopped was to hide whenever a car went by.
When he finally arrived home, it was 11:30pm… about an hour and a half from the time he had been abducted.
Here are some other details Jared remembers:
As part of the investigation, Jared was asked to reenact the drive from Cold Spring to Richmond to determine the location of his assault. Detectives from Stearns County drove him around at night while he sat in the back seat and told them which direction to turn. He believes he was finally able to determine the location when he recognized a distinctive farm light in the distance.
Then, on October 22, 1989, Jacob Wetterling was abducted in St. Joseph, Minnesota, a town just ten miles away from Cold Spring. Suddenly, the search for Jared’s attacker intensified exponentially:
All along, Jared and his family were cooperative with the investigation. However, after one particularly grueling interview, Jared’s parents said, “No more.” Detectives had interrogated him like a criminal in order to determine if he was lying. It was too much for any 13 year old boy to have to bear. Yet, he kept on, determined to do whatever he could to help find Jacob.
Then, there was “the sketch.” It’s the one we’ve all been staring at for almost 25 years.
In my last post, you may recall there were two different composite sketches generated with Jared’s help. The first was done by a local sketch artist in the weeks just after his assault. However Jared admits it’s the second sketch he feels is the most accurate. That drawing was done by a professional FBI sketch artist who was flown in from Washington, D.C. to help with the investigation. Jared worked with the artist for approximately 10 hours, answering questions and agonizing over every detail to make sure the sketch best resembled the man who assaulted him.
So, why are we sharing this story? Because we need your help. Someone knows this man. He is someone’s son, brother, uncle, father, cousin, co-worker, neighbor, or roommate. He is a criminal, a child molestor, and most likely a repeat offender.
Here are some more characteristics to ponder:
And a few more questions:
If you have any insight to share, leave a comment below. Or if you’d rather speak directly to law enforcement, please contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at 320-251-4240 (answered 24/7), or email firstname.lastname@example.org (reviewed daily).