Patty Wetterling’s son Jacob turned 38 years old on Wednesday. But like the last 26 years, Patty and the rest of the Wetterling family celebrated the occasion without him.
On Jacob’s birthday, Feb. 17, Patty wrote a powerful note to her son, which was published on the website for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
The letter reads, in part:
Birthdays are supposed to be about parties, hats and noisemakers, cake, ice cream, friends singing and making wishes but not yet. Not this year, again. How I wish to wrap my arms around you and hug you tight!
I want you to know that since you were stolen away from us, people everywhere have been searching, praying and hoping for your safety and for answers. Last fall, 26 years later, news of possible answers had your story as the number two news coverage in the region. That’s pretty amazing 26 years later. People care. There are more good people than bad in the world and people still hope.
My birthday wish is for you to come home. We need to find you. I have another wish for every child who is home safe today, that they will never have to endure abduction or sexual exploitation of any type. We are working just as hard on prevention as we are on searching because this is so wrong…so unfair. I remember how much it bothered you when things were unfair. Me too, it bothers me too.
I am hoping and praying that people will remember you on February 17 and we ask that everyone hug their kids a little tighter, tell them that they love them and take time to play a game or read books. My wish is also that parents will support agencies that help to find our missing kids and help other victims…
And once again today, February 17, we will light our candles, fix your favorite foods and cake, and thank God for the gift of you.
We love you Jacob and we’ll never stop searching for you!
I so wish for a happy birthday for you…
Patty, who’s co-founder of Team H.O.P.E. and chair member of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has refused to give up on the search for her son.
“I’ve had the opportunity to meet many other searching parents and to meet children who come home and I thought ‘What point do you quit? Six months? A year and a half? Eighteen years?’ I can’t do that. When your child is born, you look into their eyes and you promise them you’ll be there for them. I haven’t been able to be there for him, but I can honor that promise–that I will never give up on him.”
Patty said she hopes her letter to Jacob helps increase prevention and support for organizations that fight for children.
She added that she believes her family will eventually solve Jacob’s case. (Culled from ABC News)