Mother of Jacob Wetterling speaks in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - The mother of Jacob Wetterling, who went missing in Minnesota almost 30 years ago, is in Omaha to speak about child exploitation.

It's part of Project Harmony's Speaking of Children Luncheon which inspires and educates the community in the fight against child abuse.

About 1,300 people attended the conference where Patty Wetterling spoke about child abduction. In 1989 her son, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, was abducted by a masked gunman near their home in St. Joseph, MN. In 2016, Danny Heinrich confessed to abducting and sexually assaulting the young boy, and led authorities to where he buried Jacob's remains. Heinrich is serving a 20 year child porn sentence since authorities agreed not to charge him with Jacob's murder.

Patty says she keeps letters, drawings, and poems from kids around the country with her to motivate her mission.  Some of the letters are almost 30 years old.

"That's what we've chosen to go forward is to maintain the hope.  Jacob's hope was alive and well for so long and when we found out he wasn't coming home. I just refuse to let the man that took Jacob take anything else. You can't take away our hope and belief for our children and a better safer world," Patty Wetterling explained.

Project Harmony hopes the conference will empower people to report child abuse if they see it, which is a serious problem with lasting effects on each person it touches.

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