Block family adjusting to life after Jasmine's nearly 1-month abduction
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — With her three children back under one roof, Sarah Block says she can rest easy — well, as easy as one can rest with three teenage girls.
In the past two and a half months, the Block family has been doing its best to get back to normal life after police say 15-year-old Jasmine was abducted and held against her will by three men for nearly one month before she escaped Sept. 5.
As of Nov. 9, Jasmine is back at the Alexandria Area High School for full days, along with the rest of the freshmen. She is also spending time with her friends, though giving her back that freedom has been somewhat difficult for her mother, Sarah Block.
"She's been with her friends again, staying the night with them," Sarah said. "Sometimes I get really nervous about it and have to check up on her all the time. And she's like, 'Mom, really?' She doesn't really get it. She just wants to be a kid again."
Jasmine has also been spending her spare time riding her new bike, which was purchased with the reward money returned to the Blocks by Earl Melchert, the man who drove Jasmine to safety after she escaped. Some of the money was also put away and saved for Jasmine's future.
Jasmine has also returned to her youth group, which is led by Kevin Taylor of Youth for Christ. Taylor says it's good to see Jasmine returning to some semblance of normal life and that he is doing what he can for her.
"If she needs to talk, I make myself available to talk," he said. "When she needs someone to tell her what she needs to hear versus what she wants to hear, that's my role. I'm just kind of being here for what she needs."
Overall, Sarah says her youngest daughter is adjusting well considering what she went through. She says nighttime has been difficult in terms of anxiety, and sometimes it's difficult for Jasmine to talk about it.
"She has a hard time expressing her feelings," Sarah said. "She feels bad talking to me about everything, because she doesn't want me to feel bad or worry or be sad. She'll talk to her sisters or her friends. As long as she's talking, I'm OK with it."
The three men charged in the abduction case remain in the Douglas County Jail. Sarah has been present for each of their court appearances as the judicial process begins. She says she plans to be at every court hearing.
"I need to be there for Jasmine, to make sure she gets the justice deserved," she said. "She's not going to be there unless she has to. We're really hoping she doesn't have to, because then she'll have to relive all that and it's going to be very hard."
Sarah adds that she has no ill will toward the families of the men accused in the case.
"I don't have any hate or resentment to the guys' families," Sarah said. "It's the guys that did the crime. It's them I have feelings about. I know the family didn't plan on any of this. No family wants to believe anyone could do this, and I get that. I would be the same way."
Three men are charged in Douglas County with kidnapping and other crimes:
• Joshua Holby appeared at pretrial hearing Nov. 15. His attorney asked for a continuance as well as a bail review. The continuance was granted, but the bail review was not.
• Steven Powers will have a pretrial hearing 9 a.m. Nov. 30.
• Thomas Barker's next court appearance is 9 a.m. Dec. 14.