We often here criminal experts talk about how low the chance of finding someone is after they’ve been missing for over a week. However, there are also cases of young women and girls who after weeks or sometimes even years of being missing are still found. Last month, Jasmine Block was found in Minnesota (USA). She managed to escape after being kidnapped for 29 days.
The fifteen-year-old Jasmine Block from Alexandria, Minnesota goes on a boat trip with their neighbors on the 8th of August of this year. At the beginning of the evening, she arrives back home. She – like more often – suffers from a migraine attack and decides to put on her pajamas and lay on the couch. Sarah, the mother of Jasmine leaves at half past ten to a family member who needs help. Jasmine’s older sister is already sleeping at that point.
Pair of shoes
If Sarah returns after a while, Jasmine has disappeared. Her keys, cell phone, and her wallet are still in the house. Her scooter is in the barn. The only striking thing: her pajama shirt is on the floor and a pair of her shoes have disappeared. In the days after Sarah has hit an alarm, intensive searches take place near the family’s home. Helicopters hang out in the air, friends,
In the days after jasmine’s missing, intensive searches take place near the family’s home. Helicopters are out in the air, friends, family, and volunteers are searching the area in cooperation with the police. Posters are hanging everywhere with a picture of the missing teenager, the mysterious disappearance is huge news in the American media. Sarah makes it clear that her daughter would never walk from home. They have a strong band in the family. But the long-term search and extensive media attention prove futile. Jasmine has disappeared. “We do not know if Jasmine went outside to get some cool air and was taken by someone or if someone robbed the house. We do not know where she is”. You can see the desperation in the eyes of her mother as she gives another interview to one of the news shows.
In the afternoon of September 5, 29 days after the disappearance of Jasmine, Earl Melchert drives his pickup truck home, about 25 kilometers from Jasmine’s home. If he is near his house, he suddenly sees something in a meadow. “I first thought it was a deer, but then I looked closer and saw that it was a girl. She was soaking wet,” said Melchert in a press conference. “Then I also remembered who it was, the missing girl whose picture i had seen so often on television.”
Jasmine Block tells the stunned Melchert that she has escaped her three kidnappers and has swum over a lake to save herself. Shortly after Melchert called the police, Jasmine saw one of the kidnappers driving in his car in the distance.
Friend of the family
In front of the police, Jasmine tells the whole story. On the night of her disappearance, Thomas Barker, 32, and a family friend passed by. He had asked her if she could help him with his son who had been misbehaving. After Jasmine walked into the car, she noticed that they weren’t going to Barker’s house, but rather to a mobile home in the town of Carlos. Inside the mobile home, the 31-year-old Joshua Holby and friend of Barker was waiting. Jasmine was tied up and raped by Thomas Barker. Then she was locked in a large closet. The raping continued in the following days. She was also mistreated and threatened with the death several times. After 20 days of imprisonment, a third man joined the party: the 20-year-old Steven Powers. He also raped the young girl.
During the kidnapping, Jasmine was regularly moved to another home. She was then transported in a large bag. Eventually, she managed to escape from a cottage by a lake when the three kidnappers went to do grocery shopping for the first time.
Jasmine has been able to assist the police in finding the suspects in the first few hours after her escape. Police Chief Richard Wyffels called Jasmine ‘amazing’ and ‘an incredibly strong young woman.’
Earl Melchert has donated his $7000 reward to the Block family.
Below is an interview with Jasmine not long after her return.