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Dear Jacob: A Mother's Journey of Hope

Dear Jacob: A Mother's Journey of Hope


Book Overview: Dear Jacob: A Mother's Journey of Hope

With stunning detail, Patty Wetterling shares the untold story of the 27-year search for her son Jacob--and its astonishing conclusion.

On October 22, 1989, in the small town of St. Joseph, Minnesota, eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped at gunpoint. Twenty-seven years later, on September 2, 2016, Danny Heinrich led authorities to the boy's remains.

What lies between is the riveting story of the search for Jacob Wetterling, told by his mother, Patty. With down-to-earth candor, she details the investigation as it unfolds, discusses her family's struggles, and shows how she maintained her energy and optimism.

For her own survival, Patty chose to focus on hope. She became a speaker, trainer, and national advocate for missing children. Her lobbying work took her to Washington, DC, where in 1994 Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Act, establishing a national sex offender registry.

In 2013 the Wetterlings were joined on their quest for answers by two unlikely allies: local blogger Joy Baker and plumber Jared Scheierl. Baker convinced Scheierl to come forward and share his story about being kidnapped from a nearby town and sexually assaulted the same year as Jacob. Together, Baker and Scheierl uncovered a string of similar assaults that had never been fully investigated. The combined efforts of this foursome led to the breakthrough that solved the case.

Jacob's kidnapping forever changed the way parents raised their children. Dear Jacob offers not only a behind-the-scenes account of one of America's most notorious crimes but also a historical account of what has been done in the years since Jacob's kidnapping to combat the problem of missing and exploited children.

In this powerful memoir--written with Joy Baker, the local blogger--Patty Wetterling finally tells readers what happened and shows how, in searching for Jacob, she found her purpose.

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PublisherMinnesota Historical Society Press
Publication Date2023-10-17
EditionFirst Edition
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs

"Dear Jacob's exceptional candor, intimate details, and rare behind-the-scenes stories give startling insights into one of the country's highest-profile child murder cases. I covered Jacob's story for decades as a journalist, but I was surprised at how much I didn't know about Patty Wetterling's journey. This book is a must-read for anyone working on unsolved abduction cases, whether they are journalists, law enforcement investigators, or people who want to know more about what happened to Jacob Wetterling."  --Caroline Lowe, former TV crime reporter and journalist

"Patty Wetterling has displayed incredible courage as she's turned her family's grief into meaningful action. As a tireless advocate for missing and exploited children, she has honored Jacob's memory by helping to change countless lives for the better. This book tells that powerful story and inspires us all to make the world a safer place for our children."  --Amy Klobuchar, US Senator from Minnesota

"Dear Jacob shares the trauma of a parent's worst nightmare. The kidnapping of Jacob made Patty and Jerry Wetterling members of the club nobody wants to belong to. This story takes you inside their lives, showing the struggle of not knowing where your child is. The journey of finding hope allowed them to keep moving forward, pushing them beyond what they could imagine life would be." --Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart

"I could not put this book down. Dear Jacob is the gripping story of a mother's strength and perseverance in the face of agonizing ambiguous loss. Patty Wetterling satisfies our collective need for 'knowing' exactly what happened to her son. At first 'not knowing' Jacob's whereabouts, and then 'knowing, ' Wetterling managed to find hope in both, working for the benefit of sexually abused and missing children. Jacob became everyone's child, and Jacob's Hope is now transformed into hope for a safer and saner world for all children."  --Pauline Boss, PhD, author of Ambiguous Loss and The Myth of Closure

"Following Jacob's abduction, Patty and her family were thrust into a world of unimaginable pain. Each riveting page of this book reveals glimpses of a mother's unwavering devotion to her son and her commitment to bringing Jacob home. Patty continues to honor her son's legacy as a physical embodiment of hope and provides a lifeline for families searching for their own missing children."  --Michelle DeLaune, president & CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

"If you've ever doubted the tenacity of a mother's love, this book will convince you. It conveys the terror of an abduction, the gift of cherished memories, and the importance of promoting a legacy of hope. This extraordinarily inspirational book shows all professionals the need to provide empathetic, trauma-informed care. It is a must-read for counselors, social workers, health care providers, legal and law enforcement professionals, educators, and faith communities, who must first do no harm to those who are walking this incomprehensibly difficult path."  --Sharon W. Cooper, MD, co-editor of Perspectives of Missing Persons Cases and Medical, Legal and Social Science Aspects of Child Sexual Exploitation

"I am so deeply touched by Patty Wetterling's candid account of Jacob's tragic story. I found myself holding my breath with anticipation through much of this book. I cried often, but they were tears of inspiration. It takes so much dedication to become the dogged trailblazer that she is. Patty is a courageous person, and I admire her greatly."

Patty Wetterling is an esteemed American author, advocate, and educator, best remembered for her inspiring efforts in child safety and victim rights. After facing a personal tragedy of her son's sudden disappearance in 1989, she channeled her sorrow into impactful activism. Her writings, often deeply rooted in personal experiences, provide readers with profound insights into resilience, hope, and dedicated advocacy efforts. Following her son's incident, Wetterling co-founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center to offer guidance and support for families dealing with similar tragedies. Her relentless efforts led to the establishment of the national sex-offender registry, marking a major victory in the sphere of child safety. Her significant contributions extend to serving on the boards of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Team H.O.P.E., a lifeline for empowering parents of abducted children. Due to her tireless dedication, Patty Wetterling has been recognized with several prestigious awards, including an Honorary Degree from her alma mater, St. Cloud State University, and the 2005 Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award for Social Justice. Embodying fortitude and compassion, Wetterling continues to be a beacon of hope for many, advocating for a world where children can grow up safe and loved. Her work as a writer, speaker, and activist serves as a testament to her undying spirit and commitment to making a difference.

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