A Grim Anniversary: Jacob Wetterling's Disappearance

"He represents potential and the future, and he's got a tremendously big smile and it's like 'Hello world,' you know," Wetterling said. "It's absolutely wonderful, it brings it all back, that's who we were, that's what we believed in. I'm so very proud of our children and how they've managed to go forward and not be cynical or fearful or you know, just stuck. But they've managed to find wonderful people in their lives and build these wonderful families, and we do laugh again and enjoy.

Still, Trevor, like his whole family, said he has an unshakable need for answers.

"It's been so long now, and I just want to know what happened," he said. "I mean, I really want to."

Is he as sure that Jacob is alive as his mother is?

"I have no reason to believe otherwise," he said. "So until there's something else that's going to change my mind, I mean, I'm going to still believe that he's out there somewhere."

Yellow ribbons no longer hang in the streets of St. Joseph. There have been milestones missed -- birthdays and graduations. But in a house on the edge of town, one family still stands vigil for the boy who just wanted to ride his bike to the corner store on a warm autumn night 20 years ago.

"We have no proof to show he's not coming home, and so you hope," Wetterling said. "To me, hope is a verb. You don't see us back with our feet up, 'You know, I hope he comes home.' You know, you get out and you do things to make it happen.

"I will not let the person who took Jacob destroy my mind as well, and my hopes and my beliefs. He can't have it.

"So you never give up," she said. "As a searching parent, you just never give up on your child, ever."

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