Jacob Wetterling: A Break in 20-Year-Old Missing Boy Case?

Patty Wetterling, who lost her son in 1989, now works to find missing children.

ByABC News
October 20, 2009, 5:35 PM

June 30, 2010 — -- Investigators combed over a St. Joseph, Minnesota, property today near where 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted in 1989.

Neighbors reported seeing several unmarked law enforcement vehicles there earlier today, and video footage shot by a ABC News St. Paul affiliate KSTP-TV showed as many as 17 vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and trailers on the grounds.

Officals from the Stearns County Sheriff's Office told KSTP-TV and other local media that no details about the operation could be released because of a court order.

FBI spokesman E.K. Wilson told The Associated Press that the FBI is assisting in search warrant operations in the area.

Investigators seemed to be focusing on what appeared to be furniture and barrels taken from a building on the property, the station reported.

Jacob was abducted on Oct. 22, 1989, as he, his brother Trevor and a friend were returning home on their bicycles from picking up a video. It was the first time Jacob had been out alone at night on his bike.

On the return home, according to the other boys, a masked gunman stopped all three -- and then drove off with Jacob.

All that remained of him on the gravel road was a spot where Jacob's footprints seemed to show resistance. And then nothing.

Over the past two decades, Jacob's mother, Patty Wetterling, has sustained herself with hope.

"We hope for Jacob, for all of our grandkids, for every child who's home safe today and every child who's missing," she said in an interview with "Nightline" last October on the 20th anniversary of the boy's disappearance.

Wetterling and her husband, Jerry, their three other children, and three grandchildren gathered at their rural St. Joseph home in the lead-up to the anniversary to honor Jacob.

Over the years, his mother has found her voice, and her mission: to find Jacob and help protect other children.