Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped in 1989, and for nearly 27 years, his family held out hope he was alive. That hope was shattered when Jacob's remains were found last week.
After a court hearing where Danny Heinrich admitted that he abducted, sexually abused and then killed Jacob, Patty Wetterling said, "For us, Jacob was alive, until we — until we found him."
For nearly three decades, Dr. Pauline Boss said the Wetterling family was essentially living in limbo with their grief, a condition she calls ambiguous loss. Boss is professor emeritus at University of Minnesota and author of "Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief." She talked with Tom Crann about how people learn to cope with missing loved ones.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.