Earl Melchert was supposed to be at work managing a fertilizer plant in a town in western Minnesota--but he was unexpectedly home. Earl had come home to pick up a gas can, and was about to leave to go back to work--when he looked out the window and saw something moving in his field about a half-mile away...when he looked more closely, he saw it was a teenage girl running.
It turned out to be Jasmine Block, a girl who had been kidnapped about 30 miles from his house--and Earl recognized her from the news. He got her in the house and called 911.
She had escaped from a nearby abandoned house, where three men who abducted her had kept her for the previous few days. After knocking on the doors of several homes and not getting any responses, she swam across the lake near Earl's property to get to his house.
The teen girl had been fooled into leaving her home with a family acquaintance, and she was held captive for a month. The day she escaped was the first time her captors had left her alone--they had gone to get food. She knocked on doors near where she had been held but got no response, so she SWAM ACROSS A LAKE!!
Just as officers arrived at Earl’s property, a car drove by — one that Ms. Block recognized. It belonged to Mr. Powers. She identified the car for the police--and they got one of the guys.
On Friday, the Alexandria Police Department presented Earl with a $7,000 reward that had been offered for information leading to Jasmine’s return; $2,000 had come from her family and $5,000 from an anonymous donor.
Earl said he knew exactly what to do with the check: He gave it to Jasmine.
“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
“The family needs the money,” he said. “To me, yeah, that’s a lot of money, but they need it way worse than I do.”