Trevor Wetterling was just 10 years old when his older brother Jacob was abducted at gunpoint in 1989 near the family’s home in St. Joseph, Minn. The boys and a friend were on the way home from renting a video at a nearby convenience store. Jacob has not been seen since.
Last Friday, Trevor and his two sisters, Amy and Carmen, were in Washington D.C. for the unveiling of a book they helped write called “What About Me? Coping With the Abduction of a Brother or Sister.” Six other siblings of abduction victims also help put together the book which was prepared by the Fox Valley Technical College in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice. The Wetterlings and other siblings also shared their feelings in a video also released by the Department of Justice. You can read the sibling survival guide and watch the video by going to these links.
New Wetterling Lead Brings Hope, Disappointment
Trevor Wetterling has been waiting for answers since he saw a stranger take off with his brother, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, in October 1989.
It’s been almost 18 years since Jacob was abducted by a masked gunman as he, his brother and a friend biked home from a trip to a convenience store in St. Joseph, Minn.
Three weeks ago, Trevor and his family hopes were renewed when a young man from Kentucky called Jacob’s parents, claiming to be their missing son.
“He thought he was Jacob, he had amnesia and all that and that was, I mean it was hopeful, ’cause that’s the only explanation I can really have right now as to why he hasn’t come home, you know, other than the worst possible situation. So it was hopeful,” said Trevor.
The young man had some physical similarities to Jacob, including a mole on his cheek but hope faded quickly. Fingerprints and blood tests ruled the man out as Jacob.
This latest lead came as Jacob’s only brother and two sisters were finishing a survival guide to help other kids who have also had a sibling abducted. The book is called “What About Me?”
Jacob’s siblings said friends and teachers often asked how their parents were doing but didn’t always ask how the kids were dealing with the trauma of having their brother disappear without a trace.
The Wetterling siblings — Trevor, Amy and Carmen — and their parents were on hand May 18 in Washington, D.C. when the guidebook was released by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Wetterlings developed a close bond with the six other siblings of abduction victims who helped write the book and took part in a video.
“We all came together and realized how similar our experiences were,” said Carmen.
Sadly, Jacob Wetterling’s siblings are the only ones in the group who still don’t know what happened to their loved one who was abducted.
“It doesn’t go away. I mean it’s always going to be there for us. Even when, and if, we do have resolution, it is always going to be a big part of our lives,” said Amy.
“There is an unknown and we really can’t think differently until there is proof,” said Trevor Wetterling.
The Wetterlings believe someone knows what happened to Jacob and provide them with answers. They hope that someone will contact law enforcement and lead them to Jacob.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Stearns County Sheriff Office is 320-259-3700.
Wetterling Siblings Reach Out To Other Kids
This fall marks the 18 years since a stranger abducted 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling from his home in rural St. Joseph, Minn. He hasn’t been seen since.
Jacob was biking home with his younger brother Trevor and a friend. They had gone to a convenience store to rent a video. On the way home, Jacob was abducted at gunpoint by a masked man who ordered the other boys to run.
“I sometimes have dreams about it that I don’t really remember,” said Trevor. “There is an unknown, we really can’t think differently until there is proof.”
While Trevor and his sisters, Amy and Carmen, wait for answers to what happened to Jacob, the siblings have helped produce a survivors guide and video for other children whose siblings have been abducted.
Six other siblings of abduction victims worked on the book with the Wetterlings. The book was unveiled at a U.S. Department of Justice ceremony May 18 in Washington, D.C. where Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was the keynote speaker. It was a very emotional ceremony with lots of tears and hugs as the video was shown in a packed theater.
The nine siblings said they developed a strong bond as they shared their stories which were included in the book. The book is called, “What About Me? Coping with the Abduction of a Brother or Sister”.
The Wetterlings said it was comforting to see how much they had in common with the other siblings who came from opposite ends of the country. They hope it helps future victims’ siblings (sadly, the Wetterlings are still the only siblings involved in the project who still don’t know what happened to their loved one).
“If you are a sibling going through this, that they know that they are not alone,” said Carmen.
In the video, Amy talked about facing Jacob’s birthdays without knowing where he was.
“I think we still have birthday presents in our garage wrapped up for Jacob from the first few years,” she said.
Trevor talked about his frustration when he heard police investigators question whether he was telling the truth about the abductor carrying a gun.
“They kept questioning like I wasn’t telling them the truth,” he said.
“I can’t imagine anybody questioning that?” asked Caroline Lowe.
“That really made me angry because, I was like, well let me put a gun to your head and then see what you do or see what you say, you know?” said Trevor.
Trevor was only in the fourth grade when Jacob was abducted. He said kids were sometimes cruel, second-guessing how he handled the situation.
Amy, the oldest Wetterling child, said, “I think Trevor’s come a long way in having to come to terms with what happened and that he didn’t, there wasn’t anything he could have done to prevent it.”
The Wetterling siblings have avoided the media spotlight. They only agreed to talk publicly about their experiences to raise awareness of the sibling survival guide.
While the Wetterlings are helping others, they are still waiting for answers to what happened to their brother.
“It’s been more than half of all of our lives we have gone through having one less person in our family. It doesn’t necessarily get easier, you, I guess, just learn how to live life,” said Amy.
Amy and Carmen are both married now and Amy has two young daughters. Trevor has moved out of state and sells real estate.