Wednesday is the 38th birthday of Jacob Wetterling.
His mother, Patty Wetterling, shared an open letter to her son on the web page of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
This is the 27th birthday since the day Jacob was abducted on a road in St. Joseph and his name came to symbolize efforts to find missing children and prevent abductions and exploitation.
This is the first, though, since federal prosecutors named a person of interest in Jacob's case.
In her letter to Jacob, Patty Wetterling mentions that the renewed interest in the case made it one of the region's most-covered news stories.
"That’s pretty amazing 26 years later," she writes. "People care. There are more good people than bad in the world and people still hope."
Patty Wetterling writes that her birthday wish for Jacob is that he will come home.
She also wishes that children who are safely at home will never have to endure what her family has, and tells her son the work on prevention is just as strong as the work on finding missing children.
She hopes people will mark Jacob's Feb. 17 birthday by:
- hugging their kids a little tighter
- telling them they love them
- taking time to read books or play a game together
Finally, Patty Wetterling says she hopes that parents will support agencies working to find missing kids and help other victims by volunteering, making contributions, attending events, and sharing safety information.
She concludes: "We love you Jacob and we’ll never stop searching for you! I so wish for a happy birthday for you…"