Jacob Wetterling: Missing from Minnesota since 1989 FOUND

UPDATE 9/6/16 – Heinrich under a plea told authorities what happened to Jacob the day he went missing.  The story is rough to read so proceed with caution.  According to Heinrich, after he told the other boys to run away he took Jacob, handcuffed him in his car and drove near a gravel pit, where he told him to take his clothes off and then assaulted him in a grove of trees.  Jacob told Heinrich he was cold and asked if he could go home.

Heinrich said he remembered Jacob asked him, “What did I do wrong?”

“Heinrich said at some point a patrol car with siren and lights passing nearby caused him to panic. He said he pulled out his revolver, which had not been loaded, and put two rounds in the gun. He said he told Jacob to turn around. He held the gun to the boy’s head and pulled the trigger. The gun didn’t fire. Heinrich said he pulled the trigger a second time, the gun fired and Jacob fell to the ground.”   He said he then buried the body using a Bobcat construction vehicle he found at a nearby site to dig the hole, reports NBC news.  A year later Heinrich came back to the area and saw the grave was becoming noticeable, so he gathered up Jacob’s remains and reburied them at a farm.

Heinrich will face no charges in the boy’s death after the plea bargain, but authorities wanted foremost to find Jacob after all these years.

UPDATE 9/4/16 – The remains of Jacob Wetterling have been found, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday in a news release.  The medical examiner has positively identified the remains and Jacobs.  Jacob’s remains were found in a cow pasture on Stearns County Road 85 Northeast of town near a row of trees.  Unnamed sources told CNN affiliate WCCO and the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper that a suspect in Wetterling’s disappearance led the FBI to Jacob’s remains reported CNN.  I do believe that it was probably Heinrich that did, in order to possible not get the death penalty.

Posted on Jacob’s website:

“We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. In this moment of pain and shock, we go back to the beginning. The Wetterlings had a choice to walk into bitterness and anger or to walk into a light of what could be, a light of hope. Their choice changed the world…This (porch)light has been burning for close to 27 years,” the post said, “Today, we gather around the same flame. …“Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way.”

UPDATE:  10/29/15 –  Danny James Heinrich, 52, from Annadale, Minn. has been arrest for possession of child pornography after the police came to his home to search for evidence related to a Cold Spring sexual assault case and are now calling him a person of interest in the case of missing Jacob Waterline

The pornography the police took showed images of children that are known to have been explored, although Jacobs photo was not in that collection.  There was also found video of boys doing everyday activities like riding bicycles and several bins with boy sized clothing in them.

A search warrant was issued on July 28, 2015 and Heinrich’s home was searched and pornography was found at his home at that time.

DNA analysis was done on clothing items from a previously unsolved abduction and sexual assault case in Cold Spring in 1989 showed the DNA belonged to Heinrich.

There are also many cases where boys were physically and/or sexually assaulted in Paynesville between 1986 and 1988 at the Plaza Hotel, that the authorities will take into consideration.

Danny Heinrich

Authorities have looked at Heinrich in 1989 and in 1990 and he has always been a person of interest but not officially announced till today.

An attachment to the criminal complaint said that in January 1990, Heinrich gave the FBI permission to take an impression of the tires on the 1982 Ford EXP he had during the time of the abduction. Investigators found that tire marks in a gravel driveway next to the abduction scene had similar marks. In addition, Heinrich’s right shoe corresponded in size and design to a shoe impression from the scene.  But, that is not enough as there is no outstanding characteristic on the print or tire print that would without a doubt show it belonged exclusively to Heinrich.

Heinrich faces prison time if convicted on the child pornography charges.

UPDATE:  Henrich was indicted in December 2015 on a total of 25 child pornography charges.

Original story:  Jacob, his brother, and a friend were cycling home from a store on October 22, 1989 in St. Joseph, Missouri when a masked gunman came out of a driveway and ordered the boys to throw their bikes into a ditch and lie down on the ground.  Jacob’s brother and friend were told to run toward a nearby wooded area and not look back or else he would shoot them. After running away the boys turned around and saw Jacob being taken away.

Less than a year prior to Jacob’s abduction, Jared who lived 10 miles away from the location had just finished playing hockey with his friends at a local rink.  He was walking home when a man in a car snatched him.  Jared’s description of the man matched the description of who took Jacob.  He molested Jared and then told him to run away and not look back or he would be shot which is what the abductor told the boys when Jacob was taken.  We now know that authorities tested the sweatshirt that Scheierl, now 39, had been wearing that day and found Heinrich’s DNA.

In early 2009, Milwaukee police discovered an alleged video of Wetterling and pornography in the home of  Vernon Seitz, 62,  from St. Francis, Wis., after he had died in his home.  Articles involving missing children and maps of the cities from which those children had disappeared were found in his home, too.  Later information stated that Seitz had been abducted and tortured in 1950, and his interest in Wetterling was because of his past and his concern for him.  According to the Jacob Wetterling website:” in the apartment were countless drawings, VHS tapes and paintings of little boys, either naked or being tortured sexually or both.  Amongst all this, and even more horrifying, were the numerous maps they found of desolated areas and parks.  There was a road map of Illinois with 2 locations circled.  They also came across 2 children’s shoes, one being a size of 2 ½, another being a size 3 ½, both containing DNA.  They found books on cannibalism, a small round bone with the marrow sucked out, brown, blonde and black patches of human hair, rings and necklaces, bondage straps and chains hanging from the rafters of the home, handcuffs, a box full of negatives and a .38 caliber gun.  There were newspaper clippings of missing children, and photos and posters of missing children.”  Vernon was a barber by trade and the hair could have been from haircuts.   k

Abductor Profile

White Male
25-40 Years of Age
Height: 6’0”     Weight: Husky Build with Broad Shoulders
Low, Raspy Voice

Dan Rassier, an elementary school music teacher who was alone the night that Jacob went missing was considered a suspect by the police.  Finally, on June 30, 2010,  armed with a search warrant, police hauled away six truckloads of dirt from the site to search for evidence. In late September authorities stated they were unable to “establish, distinguish or identify potential evidence.”

Jacob’s Facebook page

About Missing Persons Admin 4571 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

2 Comments

  1. My heart goes out to the family of this man, I wish some news or evidence will come up, I can't imagine what they are going threw with all the wondering, and not knowing what happened to their son.. I pray he is ok, and reunites with his family, These kind of situations must be terrifying for all who is waiting for some kind of news and especially his mom whom said NO to him leaving to begin with, I bet she wished she never passed the phone to dad who gave them permission to leave the house at night.. I bet he feels guilty.. 🙁 Soo Sad.. ♥