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Update: September 3, 2016 Breaking News

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota

“This area is dedicated to our friend Jacob and other missing children”Paddy_JacobGarden-1_10-09-2008
Inscribed stone slab in Jacob’s Garden at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, taken Oct. 9, 2008. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)



On Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 law enforcement authorities named 52-year-old Danny James Heinrich of Annandale, Minn., as a “person of interest” in the October 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling. Heinrich was arrested Oct. 28 at his home on child pornography charges.

Daniel James Heinrich
Danny James Heinrich

During a news conference in Minneapolis detailing the charges against Heinrich, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger and other officials stressed that Heinrich has not been charged in relation to the Wetterling abduction or the kidnapping and sexual assault of a Cold Spring boy named Jared (a case in which the statute of limitations has expired) nine months earlier in 1989.

However, forensic analysis established a DNA match between Heinrich and trace evidence on the clothing worn by Jared, the Cold Spring boy, on the night of his kidnapping and sexual assault in January 1989.

Furthermore, investigators have long suspected a link between the cases of Jared and Jacob and it is probable circumstantial evidence in the Wetterling case points to Danny Heinrich as the likely offender in Jacob’s kidnapping.

News and updates at the St. Cloud Times


Search Warrant

View the search warrant for Danny Heinrich’s residence in Annandale, Minn., executed on July 28, 2015.

Related: Wetterling Search Warrants Unsealed

View the search warrant for the Rassier farm, executed June 28, 2010.


Danny Heinrich on Wetterling Investigators’ Radar Since 1989

By Courtney Godfrey
October 30, 2015

Danny Heinrich, the person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling abduction case, has been on investigators’ radars since the days right after he went missing. One private investigator said he’s always had his sights set on Heinrich.

Robert Dudley wrote a book on the investigation [link added] and said this break in the case doesn’t come as a surprise to him. The author is only the most recent to hand over evidence pointing to Heinrich.

A private investigator, whose notes are used in Dudley’s book, interviewed a man once considered the main suspect in the case.”

That suspect actually suggested that Heinrich had committed the crime,” Dudley said. “He described Heinrich’s car and police scanner radio as being very similar to that in Jared’s case.”

Dudley says Danny Heinrich is a name that’s been floating around for nearly all 26 years that Jacob has been missing. Investigation notes used in Dudley’s book describe Heinrich as a member of the National Guard, emotional, and a loner.

Dudley handed the investigation notes over to Stearns County investigators yet again a year ago.

“I sent the notes to Stearns County and the FBI [link added] and I don’t know if it was helpful or not,” he said.

All the private investigators Fox 9 talked to want to know, why now? The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says it’s because of better DNA technology, but some hinted they may have been under pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Get updates at KMSP Fox 9



Here’s an excerpt from pages 248-249 of Robert M. Dudley’s book It Can’t Happen Here: The Search for Jacob Wetterling (2015) regarding Danny Heinrich:

In an interview with the private investigator [Duane Hart said] he had alibi for the night that Jacob was kidnapped, that he had been forty-five miles away from St. Joseph, at Mud Lake, west of New London. He said he was with one of his juvenile victims at the lake that night.

The investigative notes seem to indicate that Hart was attempting to help investigators narrow the search for the man responsible for Jared’s assault and Jacob’s abduction. …

When Hart was shown several sketches of possible suspects in both cases, he identified a handful of men as possible, but suggested one man in particular that he thought matched the description in Jared’s case in Cold Spring.

Hart identified that particular individual because the man often wore military type clothing, drove a dark blue car, and had a hand held police scanner.

Each of those items was consistent with descriptions from Jared’s account of his abduction and assault. …


11/1/2015 Update

25th Anniversary Sparks Fresh Look At Jacob Wetterling Mystery

From left, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans, Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, and FBI Special Agent in Charge for the Minneapolis Division Richard Thornton addressed the media Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 about a “person of interest” possibly involved in the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling. (Photo: Aaron Lavinsky / Star Tribune)

By Randy Furst and David Chanen

November 1, 2015


In January 1990, Paynesville’s police chief told detectives working Jacob’s case to consider Heinrich a suspect in the attacks, court documents said.

Sanner declined Friday to say when Heinrich became a focus of the investigation. But he said at Thursday’s news conference that authorities had looked at Heinrich years before.

In fact, Heinrich had been questioned about Jacob’s disappearance at least three times in 1989 and 1990 and was a suspect in a January 1989 kidnapping and sexual assault of a boy in Cold Spring, Minn., identified only as “JNS,” according to court documents released Thursday. …

In January 1990, Heinrich voluntarily provided body hair samples to authorities. The samples were retained, and on July 10 of this year, the BCA laboratory said the follicles matched hair samples found on the right wrist of the sweatshirt of the 1989 Cold Spring victim. …

Authorities, according to the warrant, also were looking for anything related to Jacob’s case, but there have been no reports that such evidence was found. …

Other items found included handcuffs, duct tape, knives and four tote bins filled with boys’ athletic wear. …

Read the full story at the Star Tribune


11/8/2015 Update

Criminal Charges Are Still a Stretch in Wetterling Case

By Kelly Smith

November 8, 2015


Investigators are again on the hunt for Jacob Wetterling’s red hockey jacket, size 5 white Nike high-tops and other evidence that could lead them to the person who abducted him more than 26 years ago.

Without that evidence, or a suspect’s confession, there will likely be no criminal charges in a case that has gripped Minnesota for a generation. …

The only charge still available to prosecutors would be homicide, and that could be a difficult case to prove without evidence of a body. …

However, if evidence such as Jacob’s clothing is found and can be linked to a suspect, it’s likely prosecutors would seek homicide charges.

“When some kid is missing this long … there’s a strong assumption the kid is dead,” defense attorney Earl Gray said. “You don’t need the body.”

There is no statute of limitation for homicide. And other cases in Minnesota have ended in murder convictions without a body if there’s strong circumstantial evidence.

Last month, authorities named [Danny] Heinrich a “person of interest” in Wetterling’s disappearance, and the warrant to search his home included items such as Wetterling’s shoes and hockey jacket. …

Victims who come forward can help a case like Wetterling’s if investigators can establish a suspect’s pattern, [said Jeanne Schleh, a retired Ramsey County assistant attorney who wrote the manual on the prosecution of child abuse]. …

All the renewed interest in Wetterling’s case brings more hope it will be solved, but it’s still a ways off.

“The case still needs a break,” Schleh said. “It’s a very difficult case without a new form of evidence.”

Read the full story at the Star Tribune


11/9/2015 Update

The Other “Person of Interest” in the Jacob Wetterling Case

By Tom Lyden
November 8, 2015


Robert Dudley knew of Heinrich, but left him out of “It Can’t Happen Here,” his book published earlier this year on the Wetterling case.

“When you look at the information you wonder why is he still free 26 years later,” Dudley said of Heinrich.

Dudley believes the break in the case may have been handwritten notes he turned over to the FBI a few months ago. They came from a prison interview conducted 25 years ago with Duane Allen Hart who is a convicted pedophile. The notes were taken by a private detective working for Hart’s defense attorney.

Wetterling detectives considered Hart a “person of interest,” or POI, from the very start. …

Read the full story at Fox 9


11/10/2015 Update

The Sound of Danny Heinrich’s Voice

A WCCO-TV review of their archives has turned up a 1996 undercover interview with person of interest Danny Heinrich conducted with a hidden camera. In it, Heinrich describes how authorities arrested him in February 1990 and accused him of abducting Jacob Wetterling.

Read the full story at WCCO


6/3/2016 Update

Court Filing Links Heinrich, Wetterling


By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
June 3, 2016


A court document filed in the federal child pornography case against Danny Heinrich makes the strongest statement to date that law enforcement believe Heinrich is linked to the abduction of Jacob Wetterling.

The prosecution’s filing asks a judge to deny Heinrich’s motion to suppress evidence and statements, as well as his request to change the venue of his child pornography trial.

It also details the similarities between the Wetterling abduction in October 1989, the abduction and sexual assault of Cold Spring newspaper carrier Jared Scheierl in January of 1989 and a string of sexual assaults on young boys in the Paynesville area in the mid- to late-1980s. …

Read the 46-page court filing containing specific details of the sexual assault at the St. Cloud Times


Related reports on this site

“In the Dark” Podcast — How Law Enforcement Mishandled the Jacob Wetterling Investigation (Sept. 13, 2016)

Close look at quality of investigation reveals trail of failures

Danny Heinrich Confesses to Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping, Assault, and Murder (Sept 6, 2016)

Danny Heinrich in federal court confessing to the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. (Sketch: Nancy Muellner / KARE 11)

Wetterling “Person of Interest” Danny Heinrich in Federal Court (Feb. 22, 2016)

Sketch: KSTP / Cedric Hohnstadt

Danny James Heinrich Questioned in Wetterling Abduction — Investigator’s 1990 Case Notes (Nov. 23, 2015)

One of the original persons of interest in the 1989 disappearanceof Jacob Wetterling has been pointing the finger of suspicion at Danny Heinrich since 1990.

Danny Heinrich Arrested: Wetterling Press Conference
(Nov. 4, 2015)

Dennis Dalman / The Newsleader

New Book on Jacob Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects (April 17, 2015)


25-Year Anniversary of Jacob Wetterling Abduction (Oct. 22, 2014)

Inscribed stone slab in Jacob’s Garden at North Junior High School, St. Cloud, taken Oct. 9, 2008. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)

Minnesota Missing Persons Linkage Analysis (June 22, 2011)

Jacob’s Kidnapping ‘Comes of Age’ (Oct. 22, 2010)

Jerry Wetterling wears a button showing a digitally aged photo of Jacob as he might have looked at age 21. (Photo: Ambar Espinoza / MPR)

Jacob Wetterling — Latest News (Oct. 5, 2010)

Google Earth Map
Satellite image of the Wetterling abduction site and surrounding area shows how few residences there are in the vicinity. The development northwest of the abduction site did not exist and consisted of woodland at the time of Jacob’s kidnapping in 1989 (Google Earth / Joy Baker; click on image for larger display; view map of abduction site)

Jacob Wetterling Freedom Walk (Dec. 21, 2009)

On Sunday, Dec. 19, 2009, the third and final day of Jacob’s Freedom Walk for Missing and Abducted Children, Vietnam vets, led by Mike Clark and Jerry Wetterling, are met by Jacob’s mother Patty Wetterling upon arriving at the site where 11-year-old Jacob was abducted on Sunday, October 22, 1989, about half a mile from the Wetterling home in rural St. Joseph, Minn. After a prayer, three rifle rounds are fired as the universal symbol of letting the lost or missing know they’re being searched for.

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)

Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009)

A photo of Jacob Wetterling from 1989, the year he was taken (left), and an age-adjusted image of what he may have looked like at age 29 (right).

Jacob Wetterling Celebration (Oct. 16, 2009)

Patty Wetterling sings with Red Grammer during the “Celebration of Children” concert at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Oct. 17, 2009. (Photo credit: Adam Hammer / St. Cloud Times)

Wetterling Friend Shares Story (Apr. 28, 2009)

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Aaron Larson poses with his fiancée Jackie Tentinger and 2-year-old son, Anikan, as he arrives home April 17, 2009 in Slayton, Minn., after a year-long deployment in Iraq. As an 11-year-old boy in St. Joseph, Aaron was with his best friend Jacob Wetterling when Jacob was kidnapped by a masked gunman on Sunday, Oct. 22, 1989. (Photo credit: Justine Wettschreck — Daily Globe /Associated Press)

Jacob Wetterling Lead Unravels (Jan. 7, 2009)

Vern’s Barber Shop in St. Francis, Wis.
(Photo: John Klein / Journal Sentinal)

9 Responses to “Danny Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping”
  1. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » New Book on Jacob Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects Says:

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  2. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Wetterling Friend Shares Story Says:

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  3. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling — Latest News Says:

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  4. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Danny Heinrich Arrested: Wetterling Press Conference Says:

    […] Danny Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping (Oct. 30, 2015) […]

  5. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Daniel James Heinrich Questioned in Wetterling Abduction — Investigator’s 1990 Case Notes Says:

    […] Danny Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping (Oct. 30, 2015) […]

  6. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Wetterling “Person of Interest” Danny Heinrich in Federal Court Says:

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  7. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Case Featured on CNN’s ‘Hunt With John Walsh’ Says:

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  8. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota Says:

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  9. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Breaking News — Danny Heinrich Plea Hearing in Federal Court — Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping and Murder — Live Coverage Says:

    […] Daniel Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping (Oct. 30, 2015) […]

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