Wetterlings on investigation release: 'It is difficult for us to relive those dark days'

- The family of Jacob Wetterling released a statement through their attorneys Wednesday regarding the impending release of the closed investigative file in their son's case. 

“It is difficult for us to relive those dark days,” Jerry and Patty Wetterling said in a statement. “With time our family is healing and getting stronger and we appreciate all of the effort to make things better for future victims of crime, their families and for all of us.” 

The closed investigative file regarding Jacob’s abduction will be released to the public on Thursday at 10:06 a.m., according to Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson. 

Last April, a Minnesota judge ordered the release of all files from the Wetterling investigation, with the exception of files belonging to the FBI. The order was response to a lawsuit filed by Patty and Jerry Wetterling. The lawsuit aimed to block Stearns County from releasing documents pertaining to the disappearance and death of their son, Jacob, in 1989. 

County officials had then planned to release the case file to the public after Danny Heinrich confessed to abducting and killing Jacob.

The Wetterlings said some of the files should remain sealed, to protect their right to privacy and the privacy of others who may be named in the documents. However, a district court judge said state law requires investigative files to become public once the case has closed. 

“Our hearts hurt for anyone who is pained or hurt form the release of this file,” the Wetterlings said in a statement Wednesday. 

The Wetterlings also shared a flier asking people to commit to #11forJacob--a list of 11 things people of all ages can do to nurture culture of kindness and compassion. Eleven was Jacob's jersey number.

1. Be fair

2. Be kind 

3. Be understanding

4. Be honest

5. Be thankful

6. Be a good sport

7. Be a good friend

8. Be joyful

9. Be generous

10. Be gentle with others

11. Be positive 

Full statement from the Wetterling family

Tomorrow, the investigative file in the search for Jacob will be released. It is difficult for us to relive those dark days. With time, our family is healing and getting stronger and we appreciate all of the efforts to make things better for future victims of crime, their families and for all of us. Our hearts hurt for anyone who is pained or hurt from the release of this file. Clearly, changes are still needed.

Please share the attached flier to honor Jacob and the short life that he lived. 

Hug your children

Tell them how unique and special they are 

Say a prayer

Light a candle

Hold hands

Be friends with and 

Always hope. 

Jerry, Patty and the entire Wetterling family

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