Jacob Erwin Wetterling (February 17, 1978 – October 22, 1989) was a boy from St. Joseph, Minnesota, who was kidnapped from his hometown at the age of 11 on October 22, 1989. His disappearance remained a mystery for nearly 27 years. ... On September 6, 2016, Heinrich confessed to kidnapping and murdering Jacob.
Four months after Jacob Wetterling's abduction, his parents, Jerry and Patty Wetterling, formed the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, an advocacy group for children's safety. In 1994, the federal Jacob Wetterling Act was passed and named for Jacob. It was the first law to institute a state sex-offender registry. The law has been amended several times, most famously by Megan's Law in 1996 and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2006.
In 2008, the foundation started by Jacob's parents became the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. It carries on the work started by the Wetterling family—"to educate the public about who takes children, how they do it and what each of us can do to stop it".
We are indebted to the Wetterlings. The Jon Francis Foundation (JFF) is an heir to Jacob’s legacy. Patty Wetterling called me in July 2006 when our son, Jon, went missing in Idaho. She offered her sympathy and the help of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (JWF).
She sent search managers to Idaho. Jerry and Patty have become our friends and mentors and we modeled the Jon Francis Foundation after JWF.
The Jacob Wetterling Foundation was a life line to us. I was determined that JFF would pay it forward and become a life line to others. With your help, we can do that. Thank you.
Jerry and Patty Wetterling, were recognized for their invaluable support to JFF during our 2nd Annual Jon Francis Foundation Event on May 4, 2013.
P.S. In a dinner meeting with the Wetterlings in 2012 they encouraged us to devote more JFF resources into prevention efforts. That year we launched our wilderness safety education programs.