Danny Heinrich admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering Jacob Wetterling.
Heinrich says he saw the three boys on their bikes at the Tom Thumb store, parked his car, and waited for them. Heinrich confronted the boys, asked for their names and ages, Heinrich says he told Trevor Wetterling and Aaron Larson to run and not look back. He then grabbed Jacob, handcuffed him, put him in his car and took him through St. Joseph, up Interstate 94 to Albany, through Roscoe and then onto Highway 23 into Paynesville.
Heinrich says when he took Wetterling, the boy asked, “What did I do wrong?”
As they reached Paynesville, Heinrich told Jacob to stay down in the car, as he listened to the police scanner. Heinrich then took Jacob to a gravel pit near Paynesville, Heinrich told Jacob to undress and Heinrich undressed. Heinrich says he had Jacob touch his genitals and he touched Jacob’s genitals but there was no intercourse. Jacob then told Heinrich he was cold and Heinrich allowed Jacob to get dressed. Heinrich eventually panicked and told Jacob to turn around so he could “take a leak” and shot him in the back of the head.
After shooting Jacob, Heinrich found a bobcat at a nearby construction site and used it to bury Jacob. Heinrich returned to the grave site a year later, he found Jacob’s red jacket exposed, dug up the remains and reburied them.
A plea deal struck between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Danny Heinrich in the Wetterling case calls for no charges in the death of Jacob Wetterling.
He is currently facing a 20-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Sentencing will be set for November 21.
A news conference was held Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. Attorney’s office to address the Wetterling case.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner says technology advancements and DNA processing were instrumental in solving the Wetterling case.
Stearns County Attorney, Janelle Kendall says they needed to find Wetterling to move forward in the case. She agrees with Sanner saying DNA testing and evidence gathered while investigating Jared Scheierl’s assault helped in solving the case.
Patty Wetterling spoke at the news conference saying thank you to all involved in helping find Jacob.
“our hearts are hurting” and “for us Jacob was alive until we found him.” Patty says she and the Wetterling family can’t talk right now, it’s too painful.
Last year, authorities named Heinrich as a person of interest in the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, who was snatched from a rural St. Joseph road on Oct. 22, 1989.
Heinrich led authorities to Jacob’s remains.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said Jacob’s remains were identified Saturday.
Thanks to MNN Affiliate WJON, St. Cloud