If you were alive in the late seventies, and early eighties then there is a good chance you know about “Baby Jessica,” the 18-month old toddler who fell 22 feet into a small well in the backyard of her aunt’s home in Midland, Texas. The entire country tuned in for 58 hours as rescuers went to work trying to get Jessica McClure out of the well in October of 1987. It was a tense period of time, but when baby Jessica was finally rescued, viewers from across the country cheered as she was shown coming to the surface on CNN.
She instantly became a household name and was even seen on the cover of PEOPLE magazine.
So, where is Jessica McClure today?
This Monday marks the 30-year anniversary of the rescue and we learned a little bit about where she has been all these years and what she has gone through. Baby Jessica became Jessica McClure Morales after she married her husband Danny, a foreman in a pipe supply company. The couple lives in Midland, where Jessica’s tragedy occurred so many years ago. Jessica now works as a special-education teacher’s aide in an elementary school and she has two children of her own, Sheyenne, 8 and Simon, 10.
While she has few visible signs of the incident that occurred three decades ago, her right foot, had to be reconstructed and it is noticeably smaller than her left. She was without food and water for several hours and her foot was above her head during the time she was in the well, causing it to become gangrenous. A barely visible scar is on her forehead and was sustained when she fell asleep in the well while the drilling took place.
“There were a few times I was picked on specifically for being ‘Baby Jessica,’ ” she said, sharing that she never wanted to be defined by the fame that she received as a toddler. “I had a kid that called me ‘well-dweller’ for a good couple of years. Kids are blunt – they say what’s on their minds. Especially when everybody in the world is like, ‘Oh, Baby Jessica’s got money,’ and I wore hand-me-downs.”
The only funds that Jessica did receive were from well-wishers after the incident, however; they were saved in a trust until she was 25.
When it comes to bullying, Jessica uses it as a way of teaching her children to be better than bullies.
“That part of my life made me the kind of mom that I am: to express to my kids that it’s not right. My kids have good hearts.”
Jessica and her family are as normal as they come these days. On an average weekend, her kids can be seen playing in the treehouse that her husband built for them.
“Had I not survived, none of this would have been,” says Jessica, reflecting on her life that could’ve ended early. She is grateful for how everything turned out but more than anything else she is grateful to just be normal and not in the public eye.