ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Hundreds of people showed up to Lake Phalen Regional Park in St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday morning to run 3.1 miles for Jacob Wetterling on the anniversary of his disappearance 27 years ago.
The inaugural Running HOME for Jacob 5K was in the works well before Danny Heinrich revealed to investigators the location of Jacob’s remains and admitted to kidnapping and killing him on Oct. 22, 1989.
Organizers say they are “now more than ever motivated to create a world where kids can grow up safe,” according to the Running HOME for Jacob Facebook page.
“This year it is just different,” Jerry Wetterling said. “We are not searching anymore. Now it's more about Jacob, about what he represents."
The purpose of the Running HOME (Hope for Our Missing and Exploited) for Jacob 5K is to honor Jacob and raise awareness about child safety and prevention.
The event featured a 5K run and walk, a youth race and a number of activities for families. Proceeds from the race will benefit JWRC, a nonprofit founded by Patty and Jerry Wetterling in 1990 which provides care and treatment for children, families and adult survivors of child abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Jerry Wetterling said he was pleased to see such a large turnout.
"We got sunshine, a bright day, people are excited, and we are really ready to have a great morning," he said.
The event served as a reminder that while the search for Jacob is over, the quest to make his world a better place continues.
Wetterling 5k about to start. Over 1200 registered to run/walk. pic.twitter.com/OdmMHL3eP7— Jack Highberger (@JackHighberger) October 22, 2016