Patty Wetterling: 'It's important to not give up searching for Jayme'

The advocate for missing children says search 'brings you back'

Sloane Martin
October 23, 2018 - 1:52 pm
Jayme Closs is missing

Barron County, WI sheriffs office

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Patty Wetterling, a longtime advocate for children's safety, says the hope must be kept alive for Jayme Closs's safe return.

Since her son Jacob Wetterling was abducted and murdered in 1989, she's followed cases of missing children. On WCCO with Chad Hartman Tuesday, Wetterling says following this case in western Wisconsin re-ignites painful memories.

"Oh gosh it beings you back," she said. "It brings you back to the beginning and the terror. I think about what's going on in that community and the sheer terror of other families and neighbors and classmates of Jayme and relatives, cousins. It's a very dark place to be, but the groundswell of support is so meaningful to everybody. It's important for them to be together and it's important for them to have some action to do."

She says the massive search in Barron today shows how there's more good in the world than bad.

"Every vehicle that we checked out, every prayer that was said, every candle lit, every flyer put out there -- it all mattered or we never would have gotten our answers," she said. "That's where we're at. Everyone feels kind of helpless, but empowering people to be part of the solution and pull that community back together is huge."

Wetterling says recovery rates have improved drastically in the decades since Jacob's disappearance due to Amber Alerts, social media to get the message out, and better training and technology. When Jacob was first reported missing, she said they had to mail out flyers with his picture and information.