Confession in boy's death solves case that haunted Minnesota
Sep 09 2016
He pleaded guilty Tuesday to one of the 25 charges against him. Heinrich will not face prosecution for the kidnapping and murder, but could remain in custody under Minnesota's civil sex offender commitment.
"The choice wasn't to try him for murder or not, it was to bring Jacob home or not", the source explains. She thanked all the law enforcement officials who helped solve the almost 27-year-old mystery of her son's abduction.
"Until last Friday, proof that Jacob Wetterling was no longer alive did not exist", she said.
Jacob was 11 when he was abducted near his central Minnesota home in 1989.
Now she, and we, know Jacob is dead, and that is painful knowledge indeed. She says her son's legacy will live on.
Heinrich also admitted to kidnapping and sexually assaulting another boy nine months earlier in January 1989. Scheierl talked publicly about his case in hopes it could help investigators find his attacker and Jacob's.
Sherburne County Sheriffs Office via AP This undated photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office shows Danny Heinrich, of Minnesota.
Scheierl has said he'd like to talk to Heinrich; in court Tuesday, he said that he now finds goal in helping others, according to MPR's Williams. An image the defendant downloaded on March 1, 2014 is the basis for the only charge in the child pornography indictment he is pleading guilty to.
Yunek stresses Heinrich will serve those 20 years he's been sentenced in federal prison. In the end, it was the only way to verify for certain that Jacob was dead, that Heinrich was responsible, and that he got a lengthy prison sentence.
On Tuesday, the man responsible for the 1989 abduction revealed the disturbing details of the child's murder in court. FILE - In this August 28, 2009, file photo, Patty and Jerry Wetterling show a photo of their son Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted in October of 1989 in St. Joseph, Minn and is still missing, in Minneapolis.
She called Luger to tell him that as a team they might have the keys to crack the cold case that had brought the federal 1994 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which requires states to maintain sex offender registries and guidelines.
He buried the boy about 100 yards away.
When asked whether he Jacob Wetterling, Heinrich said: "Yes I did".
Jacob vanished 27 years ago, after he was abducted by a masked gunman while riding his bike on October 22, 1989.
The maximum sentence for the child pornography charge is 20 years, and federal prosecutors have vowed to ask for the maximum. As part of a plea deal, he led authorities to Jacob's remains.
Jacob went missing near his home in St Joseph in October 1989.
The DNA match and other evidence gave authorities enough probable cause to search Heinrich's home in Annandale in July 2015.
When first announcing the federal child porn charges against Heinrich a year ago, federal authorities named him a person of interest in Wetterling's abduction. Heinrich denies involvement in Jacob's disappearance and is not charged in the case.
In the beginning, the case seemed to have a lot going for it: The abduction took place on a dead-end road with limited escape routes, there were two witnesses who reported it right away, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office responded nearly immediately.