The stranger who rescued Jasmine Block, the Alexandria, Minnesota teen who was allegedly kidnapped and held against her will for close to a month, has declined to keep the reward money, according to police.
Shaken as she was after her escape, she was still able to help police find her kidnappers.
After he opened he door, he realized that it was the girl that had been missing for 29 days.
Melchert got Jasmine into his truck and immediately called 911.
After Earl helped reunite Jasmine with her family, the police offered him the $7000 reward money for his help in aiding Jasmine in her moment of need.
When Alexandria Police Chief Richard Wyffels handed Melchert a $7,000 check on Friday, the farmer turned and gave it to the girl, along with a big hug. She was found about 20 miles from her home.
Police said that family acquaintance Thomas Barker, 32, had come to the teen's home while she was alone and said he needed help with a family situation.
The money would have been a significant sum to Melchert, who only a week before had retired as an agronomy manager at the Elbow Lake Co-op Grain.
Wyffels said that when he called Melchert to congratulate him on his retirement and give him the good news about being the reward's recipient, the farmer "couldn't get the words out of his mouth quick enough". She thanked him and the Alexandria Police Department.
The girl's mother said she had been waiting to meet Melchert.
"You guys will forever hold a place in our hearts", she said.
"Jasmine is in school and they're adding more classes", Sarah told the Pioneer Press.
Earl agrees that Jasmine was the real hero in the situation, which is why he chose to forgo his reward money and give it to Jasmine instead.
'We wanted to thank him.
"I could make out her face, and I went, 'Oh my gosh, this is the gal from Alexandria that's been gone for 29 days, '" Melchert said, according to The New York Times. But this made me look at things a lot differently.
Sarah says Jasmine's life is slowly returning to normal, though the effects of the ordeal will always be with her.
Barker and two friends, Steven Powers and Joshua Holby, allegedly threatened the girl and assaulted her on multiple occasions.
Wyffels says that the area's sense of community played a large role in the positive end to this story. "If we all treat each other like what happened in this room, I think we're going to have a better place".