Patty Wetterling: ‘Kidnapped Girl Did Everything Right’

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Patty Wetterling says the 7-year-old St. Paul girl who escaped her abductor did everything right and it’s a lesson for parents.

As in Sunday night’s incident, Wetterling’s son, Jacob, was the victim of a rare, stranger abduction. It happened more than 20 years ago.

She was heartened to hear the happy ending this time.

WCCO’s Steve Murphy Interviews Patty Wetterling

“It was amazing” she said, “it makes your heart smile, doesn’t it?”

She says the girl knew just what to do after being kidnapped from a Laundromat in St. Paul and then brought to the suspect’s home in Spring Lake Park.

“She had the presence of mind to run — to get away — and she knew who she was. She knew her address. She knew her phone number,” said Wetterling.

She said it’s clear the girl’s parents had discussed the “what if” with their daughter.

“They did that. She was very brave and very solid in getting away,” she said.

Wetterling says parents need to have the talk often, building the confidence in their children to do the right thing if and when that horrific moment comes.

The 48-year-old suspect is being held in the Anoka County Jail and waiting charges.

  • Good Guy

    If the kidnapping was true, don’t waste prison space. Put him in electric chair and cremate him. Then may be, no one will try to abduct anyone.

    • MNWorkingMom


  • calling you out

    Who cares what this lady says? Not trying to be mean or anything, but didn’t she call some kind of press conference regarding new details of her sons case only to tell us the same things we already knew. And then we all find out a short time later that she was running for office?!

    • richard

      “calling you out”….Why would anyone say anything derogatory about this woman? She has ex[perienced the worst thing that can happen to a parent. She has established a center for missing children. She has lectured and visited schools all over to warn and educate children about child abduction. She has spent the last 20 years working to educate, help and lend solace to hurting parents. You must have a very small mind and no empathy for a fellow human being.

      • calling you out, but not without point


        Yes she did do a lot to help in the cause for missing children, however that does not change the fact that she tried to obtain sympathy votes. Having a child go missing is a horrible thing. And something that I would never wish on any parent. But that does not give her the experience needed for a government office. And using the abduction of her son to do so is still underhanded at best. I’m not saying she is a bad person. I’m just saying the move was kind of sneaky. Not that I would expect honesty from many elected offices…

  • Concerned

    Glad that the girl appears to be alright from the abduction and it’s good that she knew what to do. However, has anyone else thought it was odd that a 7 yr old girl only weighs 25 to 30 pounds? I hope someone from the police department or social services has checked to make sure she has enough to eat or is under good medical supervision.

  • welfare contributor

    umm, first off. Where was the parents? Yeah the creep who abducted her deserved to die, but the parents also should be at blame. If you leave your kids out of your view in a public place unsupervised, you don’t deserve to have kids.

    • bonnie Karver

      Ummm, first off? When we go to a laundromat we are there to work unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of in home washer and dryer. Public washing facilities pose challenges to everyone’s safety. To think that a parent has eyes on their child 24/7 is unrealistic. I”m sure the mother of this child is a loving, caring mother. Do NOT condemn her for a moment’s lapse of attention. (anyone who has “lost” a child in a department store knows how quickly children can evade a parent). Judge not lest ye be judged.

  • HooDatIS?
  • Jack

    thank you richard. Jacob was abducted less than 15 minutes from my home and Patty has always been very active in the community and always preparing children and parents if they happen to share the same experience her family has. She is an incredibly strong and caring woman, and deserves our attention.

    • calling you out

      But NOT a public office. That is the only point I am making. And I kind of think I wasn’t alone in my feelings on this one…

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