(KMSP) - With the story of Jacob's final hours reverberating around the world, calls of support are flooding the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center – the program created in his name to help children and families.
“There's just this groundswell of love for the Wetterlings that we're absorbing and we're honored to absorb that support,” said Allison Feigh, program manager at the center.
Feigh, herself a middle school classmate of Jacob’s, says the center has received heartfelt sympathies from as far away as Malta and the Netherlands.
In response, Patty Wetterling, Jacob's mother, posted the following tweet:
Thank you for carrying us at this difficult time. Jacob touched a lot of lives & the hope continues.— Patricia Wetterling (@pattywetterling) September 7, 2016
Calls from abuse victims, finally moved to speak, are also coming in.
“We have two of our advocates assisting with those calls coming in,” said Feigh. “With people saying, ‘I was hurt when I was six and now I'm 50 and I was reading this and it brought back up what happened when I was six, can you get me connected to support in my area?’ So that's something we've been dealing with quite a bit this week.”
So much has changed since 1989, largely in part to the Wetterling's constant push to protect and find children.
In 1994, a federal law passed in Jacob's name is what created the sex offender registry.
Patty Wetterling became chair of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
and lobbied for the Amber Alert system in 2002.
It has been used 31 times in Minnesota. It's led to 30 safe recoveries. The one that didn't happened last month.
“When Jacob was taken, the national recover rate for missing kids was 60 percent,” said Feigh. “Last year the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported they're at 97.5 percent for missing child cases recoveries.”
But as the walls in the Wetterling Resource Center attest, there are still so many children still not found and so many mysteries unsolved.
“This last week has been just so heartening because the outpouring of love and compassion from people makes it easy to read the comments this week,” she said.