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For those who've lived in Minnesota, this requires no introduction. For everyone else, you might have heard about it, either 27 years ago, or recently in the news. In 1989, a boy was abducted from near his home in a small town in Minnesota. At it's time the case gripped the nation and for many years Minnesota, it was a perfect media story. It's haunted Minnesota ever since and has been a significant part of our psyche.
Writing this out for me personally is helpful. I don't have any personal connection to the case, but growing up in Minnesota and being a year younger, this case had a big impact on me, my family and pretty much everyone I know. I didn't grow up in a small town, but I spent a lot of time with family members who did. My grandparents lived in Annandale, about 30 miles from St. Joseph, where Jacob lived. They also lived about 30 miles from Paynesville, where his body was located. Lastly, a few blocks from where Jacob's killer had been living for many years. This isn't to say that I have some sort of connection to the case, but rather how deeply interwoven to our lives this feels to a lot of Minnesotans.
Because the case is still an open investigation, there's a lot we don't know. Revelations are coming fast at this point, as the killer led law enforcement to the body late last year and this week admitted in court what he did. Details and flaws in the investigation are coming to light, but the official record isn't available.
In the Dark is an investigative journalism podcast. They were supposed to start releasing it next week, but have pushed up their schedule due to this weeks events.
Over the years this case has had an impact on the entire US. The sex offender registry law was named after Jacob. It's been amended after other high profile cases in subsequent years, but it established that every state was required to create and maintain a list of violent sex offenders against children.