Alexandria Police Chief Richard Wyffels and Earl Melchert. PHOTO/ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT
By OUR CORRESPONDENT
A Minnesota man who helped a missing teenager, gave the reward money he was gifted back to the girl, who was held captive by three men for nearly a month.
According to USA Today, Earl Melchert, 65, was presented with a $7,000 reward check on Friday. Alexandria Police Chief Richard Wyffels held a news conference to present Melchert with the check, but when the chief handed him the check, he turned and gave it to Jasmine.
“What no one expected was the kindness and generosity that came straight from Earl’s heart today,” Chief Wyffels wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page.
Jasmine Block. PHOTO/ALEXANDRIA POLICE DEPARTMENT
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Jasmine Block went missing from her family’s home in Alexandria, Minn., on Aug. 8. Police said Thomas Barker, 32, of Carlos, Minn., lured Jasmine from her home by asking for help.
Barker, who was a family acquaintance, then drove her to his home, restrained her with zip ties and along with two other men “repeatedly assaulted her” for weeks.
Melchert recognized the abducted teen on September 5 as she tried to find help, after escaping from her captors. Melchert comforted the teen and called authorities.
Chief Rick Wyffels wrote on Facebook:
“He believes that young lady that came running towards him that September day is the real hero and without hesitation, Earl handed the reward over to her, followed by a big hug,” he said. “Thank you, Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place.”
Wyffels ended the post by reminding everyone to be kind to each other, a message embodied by the man of the hour.