Sunday, October 8, 2017

The feel good rural story of the day comes to us from Alexandria, Minnesota

I read with horror last month about the kidnapping and later recovery of a 15-year-old girl who had disappeared on August 8.  Three men held the young woman for 29 days in one of their homes; two of the three men have been charged not only with kidnapping, but also with sexual assault.  The teenager ultimately escaped, only to have to swim across a lake in search of someone to help her.  Finally, a farmer saw her running across his field in rural Grant County, Minnesota (population 6,018).  The farmer, Earl Melchart, immediately recognized the young woman from the missing person posters and television coverage of her disappearance.  He called the police.  Read more here, here and here.  One of my initial responses to the story was that it validated my theory that rural spatiality conceals--and crime is among the "things" it conceals.   Another illustration is here.

Now, today, we get this follow up story from the New York Times and many other outlets reporting that Melchart has donated to the girl and her family the reward he got for helping to rescue her.  Here's an excerpt from the Times report:
On Friday, the Alexandria Police Department presented Mr. Melchert with a $7,000 reward that had been offered for information leading to Ms. Block’s return; $2,000 had come from Ms. Block’s family and $5,000 from an anonymous donor. 
Mr. Melchert said he knew exactly what to do with the check: He gave it to Ms. Block.
“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 story quotes Melchart, who retired last week: 
The family needs the money.  To me, yeah, that’s a lot of money, but they need it way worse than I do. ... What a retirement present, to hand over some money to people that really need it.

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