MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thursday marks 26 years since 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

He was biking in 1989 with a brother and his friend when he was kidnapped by a masked man at gunpoint. The crime went on to engross and frustrate Minnesotans for decades.

While Wetterling remains missing, the search for him has changed how authorities search for other missing children across the nation.

Today, 97 percent of missing children return home.

Still, there’s a need to prevent children from being abducted and sexually exploited, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center says.

The center is encouraging families to leave a porch light on Thursday night to honor Wetterling. The group also encourages parents to talk with their children about abduction.

“We have learned that when good people pull together for children, amazing things happen,” said Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling, in a statement. “We ask for that commitment once again.”

Last year, authorities launched a new billboard campaign in the search for Jacob Wetterling. There have been no new developments.


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