Jacob Wetterling’s Abduction Changed Parenting Forever

ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (WCCO) — Parents stopping by the St. Joe Meat Market remembered a time when kids used to play outside until the late hours.

“We went everywhere. We just knew you had to be home for dinner and you had to be home at bedtime. You could roam anywhere,” said Jeff Kremers.

But on Oct. 22, 1989 that all changed.

“It kind of took away an innocence,” Kremers said.

Eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance rocked St. Joseph and took over national headlines. It changed parenting forever.

“Life changed after that very much,” said Sandy Stocker.

Stocker used to live in Jacob’s neighborhood. She says her two children were playing outside that night and saw Jacob and his friends before they left on their fateful trip to the convenience store.

“They had to stay in the house and we went with them whenever they went to the playgrounds or to their friends and made sure that that’s where they were,” said Stocker.

“Everyday things that we took for granted – allowing them to ride their bikes to the park, go to a park reserve,” said Annie Rogers.

Rogers was living in Plymouth with her two children when Jacob went missing. She says it didn’t matter where you lived.

“I think it just touched America in a way that there is no such place as a safe haven anymore, we just have to be vigilant,” Rogers said.

With Jacob’s remains found, could we ever go back to that time of innocence?

“I think it’s changed forever, I do,” Rogers said.

More from Kate Raddatz
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