Pagnac case brings me back

Over the past few weeks I have been covering the Maple Grove Police and other investigators searching to bring 1989 missing person Amy Pagnac back home.

Going out to the scene of the investigation at her home in Maple Grove and seeing investigators work got me thinking about my childhood back in 1989.

The year Amy went missing was the same year Jacob Wetterling also went missing. In 1989, I was just a few years younger than Amy and Jacob, so hearing the news about their disappearances really struck home with me. The thought, “That could have been me,” crossed my mind several times growing up.

I remember being scared to walk to school every day for quite some time. Was someone going to grab me as I walked by the Wood Creek trail? Why was that approaching car slowing down so much? Not to mention the numerous talks I and other kids received about not talking to strangers from both parents and teachers.

The disappearances really made kids and adults aware of what could happen, even thought it was rare. People became more aware of where their loved ones were. When my parents were kids they were told to outside and play, but come back home for lunch and dinner. What a difference time and situations can make.

My parents were always aware of where my sisters and I were playing when we were outside. But after Amy and Jacob disappeared, my parents became very aware of where we were. My sisters and I had to tell one of our parents if we were going to play in the front yard or go to a friend’s house down the street. Even then we had to call home and tell them we made it to our friend’s home safely.

Before the 1989 disappearances I seemed to have more of a sense of independence as a kid. I could ride my bike around the block without a care, just had to tell my parents first. But after the disappearances, my mom would go with me partly because she was nervous and partly because I felt afraid.

I’m sure parents in 1989 and the following years felt the way I did. That sense of trust I had was shaken and taken away.

Nearly 25 years has past sense both kids went missing. I have grown up and don’t think every slow car is a potential “bad guy,” but I have not forgotten the faces and stories of Amy and Jacob. I am more trusting of strangers, but not completely and I believe that is because of those two cases.

Now as a mother of an 8-month-old daughter, it is my duty to raise her the best way I know how. The question is, “How do I raise my daughter to be safe, but still allow her to have confidence and a sense of independence?”

I want my daughter to grow up with confidence, but I also don’t want her to talk to every person that walks by on the street. I want her to be open and not afraid to meeting new people, but not so much that she gets put in harms way.

The Amy Pagnac case has gotten me remembering my childhood and how my sense of trust was broken. I need to keep my daughter’s sense of trust as intact as possible as she grows up. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to do it, but I’m sure my husband and I will figure it out.

Side note: I hope both Amy and Jacob are found and brought back home.