MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s true that for many Minnesotans, they can remember where they were when Jacob Wetterling was abducted 30 years ago.

“It’s a dreary kind of gross day out there and that’s kind of the feeling of this day,” Alison Feigh, director of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center said.

A lot has changed since October 1989 in the search for other missing children — from technology to forensics. When Jacob was abducted, police didn’t even have cell phones. There was no social media to share information and the AMBER Alert wouldn’t come along for another seven years.

“We can talk to kids, talk to parents and we know that it makes a difference,” victim assistance specialist at the JWRC, Jane Straub, said.

Patty Wetterling and the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center became national advocates for missing children, educating families and communities on how to prevent the exploitation of children.

Patty helped create the first national mandate requiring states to establish registries of convicted sex offenders

“The Wetterlings just consistently fighting for a world for kids and saying, ‘This offender took Jacob; we’re not going to let him take anything else,” said.

Now, the JWRC works on roughly 60 cases a year and encourages people around the world to live their lives — with an innocent 11-year-old’s traits in mind.

“Oct. 22 has become the ‘leave your porchlight on day.’ There are other missing children and adults that we’re still waiting for them to come home and this idea, the light is always on, and we’re going to keep searching,” said.

The JWRC announced earlier this year they would also be joining the Zero Abuse Project to help end child sex abuse.

Kate Raddatz

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