“Baby Jessica” McClure says she now lives as a wife, mom, and teacher’s aide after losing a large portion of public donations that were raised from her fall down a water well nearly 30 years ago.
At the age of just 18-months-old, Jessica McClure held the attention of people worldwide as rescuers spent more than two days trying to free her from an eight-inch well casing that was located in her aunt’s Midland, Texas, backyard.
Jessica McClure fell down the well on October 14, 1987, creating a difficult and lengthy rescue for the Midland Fire Department, Midland Police Department, and several out-of-work local oil-drillers, as she lay more than 20 feet under the ground for over 58 consecutive hours.
The toddler became known as “everybody’s baby,” as news media, both local and national, kept Jessica McClure’s well rescue on the air for around-the-clock coverage, until one Midland Fire Department paramedic, Robert O’Donnell, who has since committed suicide from post-traumatic stress disorder, was finally able to free her from within the well and hand her up to safety.
After leaving an unforgettable and haunting impression on everyone who watched the rescue of “Baby Jessica” McClure for nearly two days straight, public donations were easily gathered from “sympathetic strangers” — donations that were put into a trust fund that could be accessed over 20 years later.
Suffering only moderate injuries from the fall, including a toe amputation from gangrene and a scar on her forehead, Jessica McClure was able to overcome the ordeal and continues to live a “quiet life,” still in Midland, Texas, as a wife for more than a decade, as a mom to two children, and as a special education teacher’s aide, according to Radar Online.
Nearly every year, around the time of her rescue, news media brings Jessica McClure’s well rescue back to the minds of the public, mainly through short clips of archive footage that show “Baby Jessica” tightly wrapped around a backboard as she’s passed out of the well into a crowd of cheering onlookers, as displayed by the Daily Mail.
The last time Jessica McClure’s life was revisited as an adult was nearly five years ago, when she turned 25 and was finally able to access public donations through a trust fund, as noted by Today, in an article that said “Jessica McClure Morales is now a contented stay-at-home mother of two,” living less than two miles from the site she was rescued from in 1987.
At that time, the trust fund was up to $800,000, and now, as Jessica McClure is getting ready to turn 30 in just over two weeks, she claims that most of her trust fund money was lost to the stock market crash of 2008. According to McClure, she lost over $200,000 in public donations and spent the remaining portion purchasing a home and setting up additional trust funds for her two children, Simon, 9, and Sheyenne, 7.
Jessica McClure recently told People that she appreciates that people came together to donate money to a child who wasn’t their own and that she appreciates “everything they did.” “Baby Jessica” — a name that she still answers to today — also added that she never expected to be remembered 30 years after her rescue but says she does understand why people are still so “invested in her survival” since her “life is a miracle.”
Good Housekeeping reports that Jessica McClure has no memory of being trapped in the well and even watched an episode of Rescue 911 of her own rescue, not even knowing she was the “poor girl” trapped inside. Jessica McClure has since gone back to the well and says that seeing the well for the first time was hard, but not upsetting.
[Featured Image by Nick Ut/AP Images]