Why Patty Wetterling believes the new Runaway Train music video will find a lot of missing children

June 16, 2019 10:23 PM

25 years ago the Minneapolis band Soul Asylum released Runaway Train. The song and the music video became an anthem of sorts to raise awareness about missing children.
Now the band has given the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) permission to re-record Runaway Train and experts are calling it a "game changer."

When Soul Asylum released the original version Runaway Train in 1992 the music video featured the faces of 36 missing children, including Christopher Kerze of Eagan who disappeared in 1990. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported on Christopher's story in 2018.


Longtime National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Board Member Patty Wetterling says the video had a huge impact. "I believe they recovered 21 of the children featured. This will reach an audience of younger people."

Unfortunately, Christopher Kerze has not been found. But Wetterling is hopeful a 25th anniversary reboot of the music video called Runaway Train 25 will find many missing children.

"It gave me goosebumps just to watch, because I hurt for the families and I hurt for the kids" said Wetterling. "But the best hope is that they get off the streets and to some help."

The new video features three young stars, Jamie N Commons, Skylar Gray  and Gallant.  It uses geolocation technology; so you see different missing children, depending on where you watch it from.  

"It will take the IP address of whatever device you're using to watch the video on and it'll figure out where you are" said Abbey Lowenstein from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. "And then using that, it will show you images and information from that data base of kids who are missing from your area."

That's important because according to the NCMEC, 61 percent of kids that disappear are found in the state where they were last seen.  

"They typically don't run from St. Paul to San Francisco" said Wetterling. "Many of them stay where it's familiar. They know shopping malls, they know shelters; they know where to go."

The more the video is shared on social media, the more faces of different local kids will be seen, because it changes every time. Wetterling believes the video captures the pain of vulnerable, runaway children and everyone needs to see it.

"It's an opportunity to raise awareness of who are these kids and what can we do to help" she said. "And to let the kids know that being on the streets can be really dangerous; and let's get them to a better place."

Minneapolis native Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum talked about the new song and video in an interview with Billboard.  Pirner said "If it does have an impact at all, I'm pretty thankful that they thought of involving this song for their rebooting of the concept. It's all with very real intentions and very sincere wanting to help."

Each year there are reports of over 400,000 missing children in the United States. Now we can all help find them.

Patty Wetterling is asking all of us to share the new Runaway Train 25 video on social media and include #RunawayTrain25.

If you are a runaway and need help or are a parent worried about a runaway child, please call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-the-lost.  You can also get help from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center at 1-800-325-hope.

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Kevin Doran

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