After Rescuing A Kidnapped Girl, He Did Something Extraordinary With The Reward Money

"What no one expected was the kindness and generosity that came straight from Earl’s heart today."

At first, Earl Melchert thought he saw a deer.

The 65-year-old man told The New York Times he had returned home unexpectedly to grab a can of diesel to mow his lawn on Sept. 5. And on his way back into work, he spotted movement in the field near his Minnesota farm. 

But what he actually saw was not a deer: it was 15-year-old Jasmine Block, who had disappeared almost a month earlier and had just escaped from an abandoned home where, according to police, three men were holding her captive and sexually assaulting her.

"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 told The New York Times. "It'd been on the news, it'd been online. It went national. It was on posters, in stores, her face, her picture. Right away I recognized her."

The serendipitous encounter gave Block a safe haven, and Melchert quickly got her into his truck and drove her to the police station. On the way, she spotted one of the three men who allegedly held her captive, according to Twin Cities. Held against her will for 29 days, Block managed to escape while all three men, who have since been arrested, were outside the home. After knocking on several houses doors and getting no response, she swam across a lake and then walked through the field before Melchert spotted her.

And his good deed was not complete. 

After receiving the $7,000 reward for helping find Block, $2,000 of which was the Block family's money, Melchert decided to turn that cash over to the family and noted that Block was the "real hero," according to Fox 9. 

In a Facebook post, the Alexandria Police chief said that his department "witnessed an incredible example of kindness" when Melchert was presented with the reward money.

"What no one expected was the kindness and generosity that came straight from Earl's heart today," Chief Rick Wyffels wrote on Facebook. "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. Thank you Earl, it is people like you that make this world a better place."

After giving the money to the family, Melchert went to dinner with Block and her family on Friday. 

"It's the best thing I've ever done," he said. "The family needs the money... to me, yeah, that's a lot of money, but they need it way worse than I do."


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