Patty Wetterling’s book ‘Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope’

Patty Wetterling wrote a book about her experiences having a son abducted.
Patty Wetterling wrote a book about her experiences having a son abducted.
Atira Olson

Jacob Wetterling was abducted on October 22nd, 1989, in St. Joseph, Minnesota, his mom Patty Wetterling wanted to share her experiences about his kidnapping, so she wrote a book; it came out on October 17th, 2023.    

Jacob Wetterling was abducted on October 22nd, 1989, when he was 11 years old. Photo used with permission from zeroabuseproject.org.

Many people have heard the story of eleven-year-old, Jacob Wetterling biking with his best friend, Aaron, and brother, Trevor, to a convenience store to rent a movie, when a man wearing a mask kidnapped Jacob, at gunpoint. Most people haven’t heard all the details as if they were living in the tragedy, like his mother, Patty Wetterling.

Patty recently wrote a book, Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope, about her experiences during the time of her son’s kidnapping. She gives details about how the investigation unfolded, discusses her family’s struggles, and shows how she maintained her energy and hopefulness. 

In 2010, Joy Baker was a blogger who began making connections between cases in Paynesville that happened around the same time as Jacob’s kidnapping.  Baker eventually got in contact with one of the survivors named Jared Scheierl, a survivor of an unsolved molestation case. Together, Jerry and Patty Wetterling convinced Stearns County to reopen Jacob’s case. When DNA evidence was retested, the evidence pointed to a man named Danny Heinrich. 27 years after Jacob was abducted, his body was finally found through his murderer Danny Heinrich’s confession. 

Patty’s new book gives untold details about the case and he experiences. Photo used with permission from zeroabuseproject.org.

Patty’s new book gives untold details about the case. It also tells of how Patty, Joy, and Jared worked together to make a connection that lead to Heinrich’s arrest. At one point, Patty was asked if she would rather have Jacob or justice, and she chose Jacob. This meant that the family was given details about Jacob’s murder in return for the ability for Danny Heinrich to be up for parole. Currently, Heinrich is scheduled to be released from federal prison in 2032 when he will be 69 years old. 

When Patty Wetterling was asked if she would rather have Jacob or justice, she chose Jacob. Photo used with permission from zeroabuseproject.org.

The new book gives first-hand information from Patty Wetterling about how she dealt with her grief while becoming one of the nation’s most influential advocates for missing children. Jacob’s kidnapping has changed the way parents raise their children.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was created in part by Patty Wetterling, as she believes education and advocacy for exploited children should be a number one priority. To learn more about Jacob’s story or to purchase the book, click on this link.

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center was created to protect children and shares resources about how to support a sexually abused child.

Jacob’s classmates hung posters and helped spread awareness to the tragedy. Photo used with permission from zeroabuseproject.org.
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About the Contributor
Atira Olson, Journalist
Grade: Senior Name of Car: Bernard Hobbies: Singing, drinking coffee, hanging out with friends Favorite Season: Summer Favorite Food: Onion Rings