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Rescuer of Jasmine Block gives Jasmine the reward money

10 October 2017, 12:39 | Myrtle Vega

Man who found missing Minnesota girl gives $7G reward to her

Man Helps Kidnapped Girl and Gives Her His $7000 Reward

Earl Melchert is an avid hunter who often looks out over the grassy fields behind his property in western Minnesota, scouting for deer and other animals, his wife said.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that three men kidnapped Jasmine Block, 15, and held her captive for almost a month before she escaped on September 5.

"Today we witnessed an incredible example of kindness", The Alexandria Police Department wrote on Facebook after Earl Melchert, 65, turned the reward money over to the girl at police headquarters.

She told local news: 'He's really a hero for us.

When the two arrived at Mr. Barker's house, he restrained Ms. Block with zip ties, and for the next 29 days, Mr. Barker and two other men, Joshua Holby, 31, and Steven Powers, 20, sexually and physically assaulted her and threatened her with weapons, the police said.

The teen swam across part of a lake near Melchert's house after she was unable to find someone to help her in neighboring homes.

As Melchert drove Jasmine to the authorities, she spotted a vehicle driven by one of the three men now charged in the case, leading to their arrests the same day she was found.

Police said in a previous statement that, according to a preliminary investigation, the teen was approached by Barker, whom she knew, outside her home around 11 p.m. on August 8 "on the pretense that he needed help with a situation". "Right away I recognised her".

The police department explained Melchert's reasoning for not accepting the money: "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".

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It was the first time Sarah Block had met Melchert.

He said Block should get the money, instead. She escaped from the abandoned house and began looking for help. "I want to present this check to you and Jasmine".

"The family needs the money", he explained.

"I was in the right place at the right time", he said. He mentioned that it was a lot of money but that the family needed it way more than he did.

"Jasmine is in school and they're adding more classes", Sarah told the Pioneer Press.

"We can't thank you enough for what you did", the mother told Melchert on Friday.

"Thank you Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place".

The three suspects include a friend of the girl's family who lured her from her home.

Barker and Powers also face charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and Barker faces an additional charge of second-degree assault.



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