A Kidnapped Girl Showed Up In Some Guy's Yard, But He Gave The $7,000 Reward Money Back To Her Family

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NY Times- Earl Melchert did not plan to be home on the afternoon of Sept. 5. He was supposed to be at work managing a fertilizer plant in a town in western Minnesota.

He returned briefly because he had forgotten a diesel can that he had wanted to fill on his way home, so he could mow the grass that evening. As he prepared to head back to work in Elbow Lake, Minn., about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis, he looked out his window and saw something moving in his field about a half-mile away.

“I thought at first it was a deer,” Mr. Melchert, 65, said in an interview on Saturday.

What he saw, it turned out, was 15-year-old Jasmine Block, who had disappeared on Aug. 8 from her home in Alexandria, Minn., about 30 miles from Mr. Melchert’s home.

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 Mr. Melchert’s property to get to his house.

I love stories about kidnapping victims escaping. Obviously, being kidnapped is a nightmare and this girl has suffered a life-changing ordeal, and I hope she is able to move forward and return to her life as best she can. But I can’t imagine there is a better feeling than escaping a kidnapping. This girl was held for almost a month by 3 monsters and the first time they left her alone, she escaped, knocked on nearby homes, and then SWAM ACROSS A LAKE to find help. WOW. This girl is fucking awesome and I hope her 3 kidnappers get treated very, very poorly in jail.

What’s strange, though, is that people are lauding Earl Melchert for returning the $7,000 reward money to her family:

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Mr. Melchert, who went to dinner with Ms. Block, her mother, her two sisters and her aunts after the presentation on Friday.

The attention has been overwhelming for Mr. Melchert, a self-described country boy. He and his wife have read the praise on social media, where some people have called on him to run for president.

Dude… this 15-year-old girl escaped 3 kidnappers and showed up on your lawn. You called the police. It’s not like you kicked down the kidnapper’s door, defeated them in hand-to-hand combat, and rescued the girl. To me, Earl was awarded the $7,000 on a technicality. He discovered a lottery ticket in his back yard–the bravest lottery ticket on earth, mind you–and HE’S the hero? People telling him to run for President? Spare me. He did the right thing in returning the money, yes. But if he doesn’t return the money, he’s just an enormous asshole.

The chief called her “amazing” and a “young lady with a lot of strength,” and Mr. Melchert said she was the “real hero.

Yes. That is correct. SHE is the real hero. Alright, maybe Earl ain’t so bad.

PS- if you haven’t seen the movie Room, it’s pretty amazing. Download it for a flight.