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Across America, porch lights left on in honor of Jacob Wetterling

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All corners of the United States took the time to remember missing Minnesotan Jacob Wetterling last night after an appeal from Sheriff John Sanner to leave a porch light on to mark the 25th anniversary of his disappearance.

The passionate appeal from the Wetterling family and Stearns County Police touched the hearts of thousands Americans who took to social media to remember Jacob, who went missing in St. Joseph when he was just 11 years old.

Postings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram showed it wasn't only Minnesotans leaving their porch lights on, as people in Florida, California, Massachusetts, Alaska, and countless other states supported the appeal, with some posting messages on the Facebook page of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.

Many people posted pictures of their porch lights on the social networking sites, while others passed on kind wishes to the family, or recalled memories of Jacob and their sadness at his disappearance.

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"My heart goes out to this family and hoping one day you will have answers. When I was little a little boy my age disappeared from Neah Bay, Wa, during a family hike. To this day he has never been found and his disappearance is unknown. I always think about him and hope one day his family will have closure," a Facebook user from Forks, Washington wrote on the Missing Jacob Wetterling 25 Years page.

It follows a renewed campaign for information in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of Jacob's abduction on Wednesday, WCCO reports, which included the erection of billboards featuring a photograph showing what he may look like at the age of 36.

Jacob's mother Patty has been closely involved with the new appeal, telling KSTP: "It's a reminder that he's still out there. It's a call to action. Those of us searching are going to continue to hope and pray until we're told differently."

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center is an anti-child exploitation program run by the Gunderson National Child Protection Training Center, which yesterday praised the Wetterlings for the profound contribution they have made since Jacob's disappearance.

Anyone with new information about Jacob's case can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST .

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For 27 years, Minnesotans have left their porch lights on every Oct. 22 for Jacob Wetterling, who went missing on that date in 1989.