One Year Later, St. Joseph Continues to Honor Jacob Wetterling
ST. JOSEPH — It was a year ago when we found out those age enhanced photos weren’t going to help us bring Jacob home.
Over the course of the past year, the Wetterling family and the St. Joseph community has been able to seek closure, something they sorely wanted for 27-years.
Today, St. Joseph is moving forward by honoring Jacob Wetterling. Mayor Rick Schultz says the city is in the process of creating a new St. Joseph Community Center. Inside the community center will be The Jacob Wetterling Recreation Center, which will feature two memorials.
“The community center/youth activities center is going to have a special memorial that is going to have a lantern, on the south facing side of the building to shine throughout the night, forever and ever. Within the center piece of the community center building will be the 11 traits Jacob stood for, incorporated into a monument structure.”
The community center is expected to open in 2019. However, Schultz says if you have any other memorial ideas for the space, the city would love to hear your ideas.
“You can get a hold of Jane Conrad from East Central Area Labor, or Judy Weyrens [City Administer] at the city offices. That information will funnel into the community center group [that’s heading the project].”
The total cost of the project is $12 million. Half of the cost will be covered by the city, the other half is being raised by the community. If you would like to contribute to the fund contact City Hall for details.
Jacob Wetterling was abducted the evening of October 22, 1989. He was riding his bike home from renting a video at the Tom Thumb store, with his brother and his friend. While the boys were making their way back to the Wetterling home, a masked man stopped them and abducted Jacob.
In October 2015, Daniel Heinrich was named a person of interest in regards to Jacob’s disappearance. Heinrich’s Annandale home was searched to seek evidence related to another sexual assault of a Cold Spring boy in January 1989. During the search police found 19 binders filled with pictures of naked young boys and video taps.
Heinrich later confessed to kidnapping, molesting and killing 11-year-old Jacob. As part of plea deal, Heinrich gave the location of Jacob’s remains but was not charged in Wetterling’s murder. Instead, Heinrich is serving 20 years in federal prison for unrelated child pornography charges.
Jacob’s remains were found September 3, 2016 on a farm about one mile east of Paynesville, along old Highway 23.