And it is due to the work of a writer and blogger named Joy Baker.
Case Background: Jacob Wetterling
In October of 1989, then 11-year-old Jacob, his brother, and a friend were bicycling home after renting a movie in St. Joseph, Minnesota. The boys were confronted by a masked gunman who ordered the kids off their bikes and onto the ground. He asked each of the boys their ages and looked at their faces. The man then ordered the friend and Jacob's brother to run to a nearby wooded lot, and not to look back or he would shoot. The two boys ran.
Jacob Wetterling has not been seen since.
Despite an intensive investigation into the kidnapping, the case has baffled investigators for years.
Joy Baker's Work
In 2010, freelance writer and Minnesotan Joy Baker began examining the Wetterling abduction.
She compiled an impressive collection of information about the case on her blog.
She also began asking questions regarding other attacks of young boys that occurred prior to Jacob's abduction. Attacks that had occurred in nearby towns in Minnesota. Attacks with similar details.
One such attack was against a victim named "Jared" who was 12 years old at the time (source is here).
Jared was walking home from ice skating when a man in a car stopped to ask him directions. The stranger then told Jared he had a gun, that he would shoot him unless he cooperated, and forced the boy into the backseat of the vehicle. The man then drove him to a separate location, and eventually let Jared go.
Like the Wetterling case, Jared's abductor was never caught.
Through her research in the case, Joy began working with Jared. She got the idea to start looking for similar attacks on children from that time period.
She researched the topic and found an 1987 article from nearby Paynesville, MN (about 30 miles from St. Joseph, MN). The article described 5 separate incidents of a man accosting young people in their community, and that police were asking for the public's assistance.
The attacker described in Paynesville had similarities to the man described in both Jacob and Jared's abductions.
Joy then summarized the cases with what was available, and plotted the attacks on a map (go here to see that). She forwarded the information to police, and detectives in several jurisdictions are now looking at the lead provided by Joy and Jared.
As I discussed in a post recently about an amateur Civil War enthusiast uncovering an answer to a historical mystery, there are regular people doing the extraordinary.
Alfred C. Young III, Joy Baker, and Jared are accomplishing things that were not thought possible.
Don't let it stop with these heroic people, challenge yourself to do something amazing.
For Jacob and his family.
There is lots of good to be done in this world of ours. ______________________________________________
Joy Baker's post on Jared's attack can be read here, and her full series on Jacob Wetterling is here.
You can read more of my Missing Person Monday posts by going here.