Earl Melchert did not plan to be home on the afternoon of September 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 he looked out his window and saw something moving in his field about a half-mile away.
At first he thought it was a deer. What he saw, it turned out, was 15-year-old Jasmine Block, who had disappeared on August 8 from her home about 30 miles from Melchert’s home. He could make out her face and knew it was Jasmine. She had escaped from a nearby abandoned house, where three men who abducted her had kept her for the previous few days. Melchert sheltered Jasmine until police arrived. On Friday, police presented Melchert with a $7,000 reward that had been offered for information leading to Jasmine’s return. Melchert then gave the check to Jasmine and her family.