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.


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