For Wetterlings, Jacob's 37th birthday is a bittersweet occasion

If fate turned out differently, Patty Wetterling would've walked into her son's 37th birthday party today.

Instead, she walked into the 25th anniversary of the foundation that bears his name.

"The good news is no one has forgotten, everyone who lived here wants to find Jacob," she says.

His name, like an echo through the years. The boy abducted off his bike by a masked stranger back in 1989. A reminder of other children whose eyes look back from the missing posters -- Corrine Erstand, Leanna Warner, Aaron Anderson.

Jacob's father Kevin knew they couldn't be the only parents living the nightmare.

"It's being in the club you don't want to belong to," Kevin says. "The benefit is we can really be there and support each other and no one really can in the same way."

That's why they started the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center -- to support others like Melanie Otto, whose brother vanished 15 years ago.

"It's really nice because it's the one time we meet people who know exactly how we feel," she says.

The center also trains 7,000 volunteers a year.

Alison Feigh, a former classmate of Jacob's, now directs the center, and says much has changed.

"Law enforcement [is] getting better training so if this happens, they now have a plan," she says.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a staggering 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the U.S. -- that's roughly 2,000 each day. Most are runaways, and many are abducted by family members.

On average, only 115 children a year are abducted by strangers, like Jacob was in 1989.

Back then, police were only recovering 62 percent of those children. Today, that's up to 97 percent.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom says everything has changed since then.

"The Amber Alerts to find children quickly -- that's been huge," he says.

Along the way, the Wetterlings have built a legacy that carries on, even as they wait for Jacob to come home.

"For me personally, this has been a journey and I refuse... to let the man who took Jacob take anything else away from me," Patty says.

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