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5 questions for my son’s abductor

Patty Wetterling holds a photo of her son Jacob, who was abducted at age 11 nearly 20 years ago. Photo taken August 31, 2009.

Patty Wetterling holds a photo of her son Jacob, who was abducted at age 11 nearly 20 years ago. Photo taken August 31, 2009.

Editor’s note: Patty Wetterling is an advocate for families of missing children, including her son Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted in 1989 when he was 11. She recently wrote the following column for CNN:

October 22 will mark 25 years since my son Jacob was taken from his family as he rode his bike home with his brother and a friend on a rural Minnesota road.

Jacob was a fun, active, athletic, kind, 11-year-old boy who loved peanut butter and football. He was most known for his sense of fairness.

Not knowing what happened or who abducted Jacob has left so many unanswered questions for Jacob’s father, sisters, brother and me.

If I had the chance to talk face to face with the man who took my son away, here’s what I’d want to know:

Who are you?

I believe that somebody knows. It’s time to quit protecting the bad guy, even if it is a family member. It’s time to speak up for Jacob. Please tell me who took our son.

If YOU are the abductor, it’s time to tell. You can’t feel good about this. Find some peace. Please write back.

Is Jacob still alive?

Sometimes the phone rings and there is no one there. It’s probably a telemarketer or a wrong number, but my heart cries out, “Jacob, are you there?” I save articles of “kids” who came home after long periods of time: three months, nine months, four years, 7½ years, 10 years, 18½ years.

It CAN happen. I don’t know, so I hope and pray that you got away, Jacob. We need you back. We love you more than the flowers love the sun and the rain. My heart wants to believe you’re OK.

Please give us some answers.

What made you think you could steal a child?

Jacob is so deeply loved and missed by his mom and dad, brother, sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends. I have read a lot about kidnappers and child molesters and I know that you are all people, human beings that need help.

Maybe you feel bad. Maybe you told someone, but I still live with so many questions — like, how could you? And how could anyone still keep the secret? You can free yourself of carrying this. Please explain this to me.

Why didn’t you let him go?

What happened? You probably had other boys that you victimized and released. I think you meant to let him go and something went terribly wrong. I need to know what happened. Please talk to me.

What was the last thing that Jacob said to you?

Jacob had a keen sense of fairness and always stood up for people who he thought needed an ally, a friend. He probably would have befriended you too. I need to hear his voice again or to hear the last words he said if he can’t speak to me himself. Please tell me.

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