ST. JOSEPH, Minn. – For nearly 27 years, the porch light has been a symbol of hope in St. Joseph.
Hope that Jacob Wetterling would one day return home.
On Saturday, that hope turned to grief and sorrow as authorities confirmed they had located Jacob's remains.
Still, on Saturday night, the town of nearly 7,000 was full of lit porch lights. All in support of the Wetterling family.
“The porch lights were on last night. It was so great," said resident Mary Kay Hoeschen. "I was biking in the community and I just couldn’t believe all the porch lights that were on for Jacob.”
On Sunday, Hoeschen attended mass at the Church of St. Joseph looking to the congregation to help with closure. Since Wetterling's abduction, Hoeschen has kept her grief and guilt. She was out for a walk the night of the abduction and passed the very spot where Jacob was taken at gunpoint.
“I missed it by 10 minutes and I ask myself, 'Did I see anybody? Was there anybody there?' I can't remember."
Hoeschen says she was questioned by investigators at least twice in hopes that she may have seen something to provide a clue.
“It has been difficult for everyone," she said.
Throughout the weekend, people have been placing flowers and cards either outside the Wetterling home driveway or at the chiropractic office of Jerry Wetterling in downtown St. Joseph.
Sunday's services included a special prayer for the Wetterling family.
A sign outside of The Local coffee shop reads, “If light is in your heart you will always find a way home.”
For Hoeschen, it is a difficult outcome but a sense of finally having an answer.
“Over the past 27 years, you always felt like this was part of us. Moving on now will be difficult. We’re not going to forget about Jacob. This is something that has touched so many different lives.”