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Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner has confirmed the identity of the remains found as those of Jacob Wetterling.
Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling, said that 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, “has been found and our hearts are broken.”
Federal authorities declined to comment.
The mystery of Jacob’s abduction has intrigued Minnesota residents for more than two decades.
In the years afterward, Patty Wetterling became a nationally recognized advocate for missing children.
The man named as a suspect in Wetterling’s disappearance lead FBI agents to the missing boy’s body.
This all happened in the last few days, as agents pressed Danny Heinrich for information on the nearly 27 year-old mystery.
Sources say the FBI took Heinrich out of jail at least twice this week.
It’s during that time that Heinrich told investigators where they’d find Jacob’s body.
Searchers have been at a site in Stearns County for several days.
Eleven-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped by a masked gunman on Sunday, Oct. 22, 1989 in St. Joseph while biking home from a convenience store with his brother and a friend.
The FBI says a similar case happened in January of 1989, when 12-year-old Jared Scheierl was sexually assaulted in nearby Cold Spring. There was also a series of sexual assaults in nearby Paynesville in 1986 and 1987.
Heinrich was questioned in 1990 about the assaults and the Wetterling case, but was never formally charged.
The FBI named Heinrich a person of interest in the Wetterling case last October. Heinrich was charged with 25 counts of child pornography possession on the same day, to which he eventually pleaded not guilty.
Wetterling’s disappearance drew national attention for more than a quarter century.
Wetterling’s parents, Patty and Jerry started the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center in 1990 to help communities and families prevent child exploitation.
Patty has become a national advocate for missing children.
The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center released a statement that reads, in part,
“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.”
The efforts of Patty and Jerry Wetterling helped lead to the passing of the Jacob Wetterling Act, legislation that required states to begin sex offender registries.