Skip to main content

He helped rescue a teen from captivity – now he gives her the reward money

'You guys deserve this,' he told the 15-year-old and her family.

Earl Melchert was already a hero to Jasmine Block and her family for bringing the kidnapped 15-year-old to safety after she escaped captors charged with brutalizing her for nearly a month. 

Now he's gone a step further. 

As soon as he was presented with the $7,000 in reward money offered for Jasmine's safe return, he handed the money over to Jasmine and her mother with a hug, the Alexandria Police Department says in a Facebook post

Police Chief Rick Wyffels called what Melchert did an incredible example of kindness. 

"He believes that young lady that came running towards him that September day is the real hero and without hesitation, Earl handed the reward over to her, followed by a big hug. Thank you Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place," the chief wrote.

The Alexandria Echo Press has video of the ceremony where Melchert hands the check to Jasmine's mother, Sarah, saying: "The reward money means absolutely nothing to me. I want to present this money to you and Jasmine. You guys deserve it.” 

What Melchert did

On September 5 the men who had been keeping Jasmine in a house in Carlos, Minnesota, stuffed her into a duffle bag and put her in the back of a pickup, the girl told authorities. 

When the men stopped at a convenience store she slipped out and took off running. When she came to Thompson Lake she spotted a home on the other side. She began swimming. 

On the way across she lost her pants and shoes, but as she climbed out of the lake she spotted Melchert, who was on a break from his job at a grain elevator and happened to return home to get something.

"I happened to look out and I saw a speck," Melchert told the Echo Press. "Eventually she got close to me and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a woman.’ Then pretty soon I said, ‘No, it’s a young girl.’ I knew it was her as soon as I saw her face.”

He'd seen the "Missing" posters showing Jasmine, who lives in Alexandria.

Her mother told the newspaper Jasmine is slowly readjusting to life after the trauma and has returned to school with the help of a therapy dog. 

Next Up

ambulance

Motorcyclist killed on I-494 crash in Richfield

The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the victim as a 42-year-old Shakopee man.

013_kitchen

Gallery: This Seward Neighborhood gem SOLD fast!

Classic 1903 home came with modern updates

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Evacuations underway after explosion, fire on U of M campus

Evacuations are in effect on campus after an underground explosion and fire Thursday afternoon.

hopkins high school

‘Terrible prank’ during tornado drill causes scare at Hopkins High School

The school principal said the incident brought armed police to the school and "understandably caused some scholars anxiety."

MNBCA - Balsimo 1

Woman admits to role in St. Paul man's gruesome murder

A 32-year-old Duluth woman has taken a plea deal in the case of a 34-year-old St. Paul man's murder.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

'Living nightmare’ alleged at Savage, Minn. rabbit sanctuary

"Peacebunny Cottage" is now the subject of an animal cruelty investigation.

ambulance

Tractor tips on embankment, killing man in Kandiyohi County

The tractor reportedly tipped and fell on top of the man, pinning him underneath.

Sloane Martin

Sloane Martin teams with Mike Golic Jr. for college football broadcasts

Martin, 33, lives in Minnesota and continues to climb the sports broadcasting ladder.

Melvin Carter

St. Paul plans to extend $500 payments to low-income families

The expansion would give more than 300 families a monthly payment of $500.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

Use of car seat in crash that killed child still under investigation

The mother of the child was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.

Related

It's now been a week since an Alexandria teenager disappeared

There's a $1,000 reward for finding Jasmine Block, 15

Searchers find Alexandria teen missing for nearly a month

Jasmine Block is being treated for minor injuries, police say.

Aniya Allen

$30K reward fund for cases of young children shot in Minneapolis

Three children, all 10 years old or younger, were shot in the head in the past month.

Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 8.05.45 AM

Family of man killed in Maplewood fundraising reward money to find suspect

The GoFundMe was initially set up to pay for funeral expenses for Devinn Madley.

Jasmine Block

Teen Jasmine Block recounts horrific 2017 abduction on Dr. Phil

She was taken from her Alexandria home by a family friend and repeatedly assaulted over 29 days.

A lawsuit says a Twin Cities hospital didn't protect a patient from sex assaults

The family of a 15-year-old girl with developmental disabilities is suing.

Police ask for help locating 2 teens missing from Bemidji

The teens are ages 15 and 17, respectively.

Reward to help catch suspect who robbed, shot at woman

The woman was walking home during the day when she was attacked.