MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Doctors say the death of a child is the most devastating grief a parent can experience.
It was especially hard for Jacob Wetterling’s family on Tuesday, when they sat in court and listened to the confessions of Danny Heinrich, who admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering their boy 27 years go.
Now the Wetterlings must cope with the fact that Jacob died when he was 11.
Dr. Kirsten Lind Seal, a licensed marriage and family therapist, says the loss of a child is a deeply-rooted pain, and that the stages of grief often include denial, anger and depression.
In the Wetterlings’ case, after Jacob’s abduction, they became advocates to help keep other kids safe, which is what doctors encourage.
Lind Seal says now that Jacob’s remains have been found and the family knows what happened, the road to coming to grips with the reality of Jacob’s death won’t be easy.
“First thing is really coming to grips that he really is dead…to sit with the fact their beloved Jacob is gone,” Lind Seal said.
Jacob’s abduction changed the culture of parenting in Minnesota. For that reason, Lind Seal believes parents should talk to their kids about what happened.
Depending on the age, she says some details shouldn’t be discussed. However, she said that telling Jacob’s story will help kids understand how to keep themselves safe and the risks that are out there.
* Patty Wetterling: ‘Create Joy’ For Jacob, That Will Bring Me Comfort
* Jared Scheierl Relieved Wetterling Family Has Closure
* Jacob Wetterling’s Abduction Changed Parenting Forever
* Minnesota Reacts To Jacob Wetterling Developments
* Annandale Man, 52, Named Suspect In Wetterling Case
* The Timeline In The Jacob Wetterling Abduction Case
* ‘I’m Just Glad He’s Gone’: Neighbors On Wetterling Case POI
* Statute Of Limitations Comes Into Question In Wetterling Case
* Man Who Escaped Abduction Holds Out Hope For Wetterling Break
* Investigators Think Paynesville Attacks, Wetterling Case Connected
* Wetterlings Plead For Answers In Jacob’s Abduction
* Fmr. FBI Agent: Early Wetterling Investigation Was ‘A Bad Mistake’
* Original FBI Investigator On Wetterling Case Speaks Out
* Wetterling Person Of Interest Sued In Other Boy’s Abduction
* A Look At Danny Heinrich’s Criminal Past
* Patty Wetterling Opens Up About Heinrich Arrest For The First Time
* Nazi Memorabilia, New Kids’ Clothing Found In Heinrich’s Home
* Danny Heinrich Pleads Not Guilty To 25 Counts; Trial Date Set
* Judge Denies Heinrich’s Motion To Move Child Porn Trial