Thousands arrive for today's Jacob Wetterling memorial

Posted September 30, 2016

Minnesotans came together at the College of St. Benedict for Jacob Wetterling's memorial service Sunday morning.

"(We) just wanted to be here to show them how much we appreciate them", Bergwall shared.

Jacob, then 11, was abducted at gunpoint by a masked man on October 22, 1989, on his way home from a convenience store.

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Weeks after the man responsible for the death of Jacob Wetterling showed authorities the remains of the child who had been missing for nearly three decades, a public memorial was held for the victim.

Sunday's service celebrated Jacob's life with songs, prayers and memories while family photos were displayed on large screens.

St. Benedict's president, Mary Hinton, welcomed the crowd at the beginning of the service. She noted the impact that support had on the Wetterlings in keeping them resolute, and moving ahead in their pursuit of knowing what happened to Jacob. Every hug. Each and every one of them. "I guess for us, planning for the future rather than talking about Jacob in the past was our way to keep his hope alive all these years".

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"Jacob's caring heart. continues to be felt through each of you, we are and always will be Jacob's hope", Amy Wetterling said. "And our love for you will never die". She says she was in need of friends then, and especially now after learning details of the 11-year-old's death in 1989. "You've changed my life forever and you will never be forgotten".

"The Wetterling family's tragedy profoundly affected the lives of all Minnesotans we have held their family in our hearts for almost 27 years", Dayton said. His mother, Patty Wetterling, became a prominent advocate for children's safety, and in 1994 Congress passed a crime bill that included the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sex Offender Registration Act, which required states to register and track sex offenders.

The College of Saint Benedict Women's Choir sings during the community memorial service for Jacob Wetterling at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in St. Joseph, Minn., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016.

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The city of St. Joseph was united in grief and support of the Wetterling family as thousands attended a memorial service to remember Jacob Wetterling.