Rescuer of Jasmine Block gives Jasmine the reward money

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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.

For the next 29 days, Barker, along with Joshua Holby, 31, and Steven Powers, 20, allegedly physically and sexually assaulted her and threatened her with weapons, The Times reported.

However, at a gathering at the Alexandria Police Department on Friday, Oct. 6, Melchert turned down the reward and instead gave the money to Jasmine.

"What no one expected was the kindness and generosity that came straight from Earl's heart today", Wyffels said.

Earl says giving Jasmine his reward money was, "The best thing I've ever done".

A Minnesota farmer who received $7,000 for finding a missing 15-year-old girl offered her his reward money and called the teen "the real hero".

"The reward money means absolutely nothing to me", he told Block's mother, Sarah Block.

But after 29 days of captivity, she managed to escape, swimming across part of a lake and running through a field until she reached Melchert.

Speaking out about her ordeal, Jasmine Block told Fox 9 News: 'I was usually in a closet and I usually stayed quiet because I was scared they might hit me or do something'.

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Though Elchert had just retired a week earlier, he said that Block "deserved" the money and handed the check over to the teen. 'And they said it would be about an hour.

On Sept. 5, Earl Melchert stopped by his home momentarily to pick up something he'd forgotten. [I said] "My name is Jasmine Block and I've been kidnapped".

"I would have been there (at home) about a minute", Melchert said.

According to investigators, Barker, who suffers from cerebral palsy, admitted he was on methamphetamine and booze.

It was that decision that would change the course of numerous lives - especially that of a 15-year-old Jasmine Block.

Sarah Block, Jasmine's mother, hugs Earl Melchert as she meets him for the first time since Jasmine's return.

She told local news: 'He's really a hero for us. We wanted to thank him. He didn't have to help her and he did. "He risked a lot of things and put himself in danger". "Right away I recognized her". She added that she swam across the lake even though "I'm not a good swimmer".

The suspects, including a friend of the girl's family, were charged with kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct, assault and false imprisonment.

Police chief Rick Wyffels paid homage to Mr Melchart in a Facebook post.

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