MIDLAND, Texas – Baby Jessica is all grown up.
The toddler who tumbled down an abandoned water well and got trapped more than two decades ago turns 25 today, a milestone that gives her access to a trust fund of up to $800,000 donated by thousands of sympathetic strangers who spent 2 1/2 days glued to the television until she was free.
Jessica McClure Morales is now a contented stay-at-home mother of two, and her youngest is 18 months old – the same age she was when her accident drew the eyes of the world to this oil-patch city. She lives less than two miles from the site of the 1987 rescue.
“That’s all Jessica has ever wanted was to be a mom and have a family,” said her father, Lewis “Chip” McClure. “She’s a good mom and keeps her eyes on her kids.”
McClure Morales has no memory of being wedged in the pipe or of the 15 operations that followed her ordeal, according to her father. A scar from her hairline to the bridge of her nose is still visible where her head rubbed against the wall of the well. She also lost a toe to gangrene because one leg was pinned above her head in the underground shaft.
McClure said his daughter has talked about first setting up trusts for her two children’s college education.
She married Daniel Morales in 2006. Their children are Simon, 4, and Sheyenne, the 18-month-old.
In 2002, McClure Morales told Ladies Home Journal she took pride in her scars. “I have them because I survived,” she said.