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Oct 5th, 2010

September 15, 2016 Update

Saint John’s University Athletic Department to Honor Jacob Wetterling

The St. John’s University football team paid tribute in memory of Jacob Wetterling following practice on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016 by lining up on the field at Clemens Stadium to form the word Jacob and the number 11.

September 15, 2016

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Saint John’s University athletic department has announced that it plans to honor Jacob Wetterling by wearing the No. 11 in some form on all of its athletic uniforms during the 2016-17 academic year.

Jacob wore No. 11, which was also his favorite number, when he participated in youth sports and the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and family have asked that the No. 11 be showcased to honor their son.

All SJU athletic teams will wear, when applicable, a sticker showcasing the No. 11 and Jacob on its uniform (helmet, shoe, etc.).9272

In addition, the SJU football team will wear the No. 11 on the right side of every helmet, with the jersey number on the left side, for the remainder of the 2016 season.

To remember and honor Jacob’s hope for our world, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center and family have asked everyone to exhibit these 11 traits to show your commitment to making the world a better place for everyone:

1. Be fair
2. Be kind
3. Be understanding
4. Be honest
5. Be thankful
6. Be a good sport
7. Be a good friend
8. Be joyful
9. Be generous
10. Be gentle with others
11. Be positive

The Wetterling Family Memorial Service for Jacob will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, on the College of Saint Benedict campus in St. Joseph.

Related report: Johnnies will honor Jacob with No. 11 (St. Cloud Times)

September 4, 2016 Update

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found At Stearns County Farm

The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)
The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)

Stearns County Sheriff Confirms Remains Found Are That of Jacob Wetterling


Wetterling Remains May Have Been Found, Sources Say

By Tom Hauser, Paul McEnroe & Nate Leding
September 3, 2016

Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the man authorities named as a person of interest in Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance, Danny Heinrich, agreed to cooperate, and provide information that led to authorities recovering unidentified remains.

Heinrich led investigators to the area where the remains were found, according to sources.

Sources say the remains that may be those of Wetterling were found at an undisclosed location in central Minnesota.

DNA tests are currently being conducted to determine if they are in fact the boy’s remains. …

Read the full report and updates at KSTP


Updates » Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Stearns County


August 30, 2016 Update

APM Investigative Unit Announces Podcast Series on Wetterling Case

By Jon Collins

August 29, 2016

American Public Media will launch an investigative podcast next month looking at the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, the 11-year-old boy abducted from his hometown of St. Joseph, Minn., almost 27 years ago.

Wetterling was taken by a masked gunman on Oct. 22, 1989. A friend and younger brother say the three were bicycling home after renting a video when a man came down a driveway and ordered them to lie on the ground. The other two boys were told to run away and not look back or they’d be shot.

The intersection at 16th Avenue Southeast where Jacob Wetterling was last seen on Oct. 22, 1989. (Photo: Peter Cox | MPR News)

The podcast, called In the Dark, is led by reporter Madeleine Baran, who won a Peabody Award for her reporting on clergy sexual abuse in Minnesota. The name of the podcast refers to the crime itself, Baran said, but also to the lack of transparency around the decades-long investigation.

“So it has these two senses,” Baran said. “There’s this crime that happened in the dark and, also, there’s this investigation that happened in the dark.”

The abduction was a pivotal moment in Minnesota and beyond, sparking concerns about child abduction and a national focus on sex offenders. Because the case has been closely covered by local media for all those years, Baran was surprised to find details that had been overlooked.

“When I started reading just basic information about the case, there were certain things that stood out to me as interesting, like the fact that this happened on a dead-end street, this happened in a town of 3,000 people, the police got there right away,” Baran said. “That changed how I thought about it and made me think, ‘Why hasn’t this been solved?'”

The Wetterling case led to the passage of a federal law in 1994 that required states to create sex offender registries.

“This was obviously a sensational crime in Minnesota, but for us to spend this much time as investigative reporters looking into it, it has to have something more than that,” Baran said. “The something more in this case is that it’s affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who are on sex offender registries in this country.”

Following the success of Serial, podcasts are seen as a way to tell a longer, more complex story.

“It can go much deeper even than one long radio documentary can,” Baran said. “It’s hard for me to imagine, given what we’ve found out, doing it in a different way. The format really does lend itself, because these are complicated stories.”

Unlike Serial, though, In the Dark’s mission isn’t to solve the crime. Baran said it’s looking at why the case hasn’t been solved and the impact it’s had on the people swept up in it, including Jacob’s parents.

“In the eyes of Minnesota there’s this person, Jacob, who is missing, but he’s their son,” Baran said. “You can talk to a lot of people … who want to talk about it as a mystery or this sensational crime. But, really, what is it like if that’s your kid?”

APM Reports editor-in-chief Chris Worthington is overseeing the reporting project.

“While this case has been covered locally and nationally, no one has really gone in depth about the investigation itself,” Worthington said in a statement. “We wanted to examine what went wrong and why this case has not been solved. And most importantly, why Jacob Wetterling hasn’t been found.”

The podcast is produced by APM Reports, which began work last year as American Public Media’s investigative reporting and documentary unit. American Public Media is the parent company of MPR News.

In the Dark begins Sept. 13. After that, a new installment of the eight-episode series will be released each week. It will be available on iTunes.

Preview: In the Dark | Find it on iTunes

November 4, 2015 Update

Sex Assault Victim Weighs in Ahead of Court Hearing

Jared Scheierl (Photo credit: KARE)

By Karla Hult
November 3, 2015


ZIMMERMAN, Minn. – For nearly 27 years, Jared Scheierl has searched for answers. Last week, he believes he found the most important one in the arrest of 52-year-old Daniel Heinrich.

“The sketch and the resemblance to Danny Heinrich, physical description, the voice. It all came to light when I was able to put a name with the face,” Scheierl said from a Zimmerman home on Tuesday. …

A long journey

In January 1989, the then 12-year-old Scheierl was grabbed off a Cold Spring street, driven to a remote area and sexually assaulted. Nine months later, Jacob was taken. Investigators quickly linked the two cases – believing one man may have attacked the two boys.

For years, Scheierl struggled with the idea he alone had survived the same attacker. Then two years ago, he met a determined blogger – Joy Baker – who helped him research possible connections to similar attacks in Paynesville.

“I truly believed that this was a direction to find my own answers,” Scheierl said, adding that those answers would lead to more clarity for Jacob.

But the journey was long, difficult and filled with false leads. Until last week, when investigators announced DNA found on Scheierl’s clothing from the day of the attack matched that of Heinrich. It is a technological breakthrough, but Scheierl himself is also credited with shedding light on the two cases. …

No day in court

Despite his efforts, Scheierl won’t get his day in court. The statute of limitations in his case has expired [link added]. Heinrich remains behind bars on five counts of possessing and receiving child pornography. …

Sharing the message

Meantime, the very heart-shaped wood that Scheierl gave to the Wetterlings on the 25th anniversary of Jacob’s disappearance is a message he hopes to share with others. The artwork reads: “Hope Inspires People to Seek Joy.”

Scheierl hopes others will change their profile pictures to show the heart – helping to carry his message forward. Scheierl is also trying to spread kindness by actively supporting an organization that seeks to “connect kids to the outdoors,” called the Crow River Trail Guards. And Scheierl is even looking to establish his own non-profit organization to help those trying to overcome past victimization, called: “Embracing the Past.”

Read article and view video at KARE 11

October 29, 2015 Update: “Person of Interest” Arrested

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 has been arrested on child pornography charges.

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 nine months earlier in 1989.

However, forensic analysis established a DNA match between Heinrich and trace evidence on the clothing worn by Jared Scheierl, 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 Heinrich as the likely offender in Jacob’s kidnapping.

News and updates at the St. Cloud Times

October 11, 2014 Update: New Effort Launched to Find Jacob

Jacob Wetterling Search Continues 25 Years Later

By Jim Maurice
AM 1240 WJON
October 10, 2014

ST. CLOUD – Jacob Wetterling has been missing for nearly 25 years, and on Tuesday [Oct. 14, 2014] officials are launching a new effort to find him.

The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, the BCA, and FBI are holding a news conference in St. Cloud asking the public for help in the continued search for Wetterling. Billboards will also be placed in six locations around the area. …

Wetterling’s story was recently featured on CNN’s “The Hunt With John Walsh.”

Tuesday’s news conference is at 11:00 a.m. at the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center in downtown St. Cloud.

May 15, 2014 Update

New Developments Revealed in Jacob Wetterling Abduction Case

By Esme Murphy
May 14, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS — There is a new development in one of Minnesota’s most infamous unsolved crimes: the abduction of Jacob Wetterling. A masked stranger grabbed the 11-year-old as he biked home from a store in St. Joseph nearly 25 years ago.

Now, WCCO-TV has learned that a cluster of at least six unsolved sexual assaults on boys were never looked at as a possible lead in Wetterling’s case. Those attacks happened two years prior to Wetterling’s kidnapping, just 30 miles away in Paynesville. They are now being investigated by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. …

For four years, Joy Baker, a blogger from New London, has written a detailed blog about the Wetterling case. Last summer, her research uncovered articles in the Paynesville Press in 1986 and 1987. They detailed six unsolved sexual assaults on boys just two years before Wetterling’s abduction.

“The police chief is asking for the public’s help in finding this guy who has been assaulting 12-16 year old boys,” Baker said of one article.

“What went through my mind is that they have to be connected. How many psychopathic pedophiles can exist in a 20-mile radius?”

WCCO-TV asked Patty Wetterling if she had ever heard of the Paynesville cases and showed her two of the original police reports from the Paynesville attacks.

“We did not know about these cases until Joy Baker put it on her blog, and it was like, ‘Wow,’” Patty Wetterling said.

Those reports, as well as the newspaper accounts, list a series of striking parallels with Jacob Wetterling’s kidnapping. He was abducted at 9 p.m. as he rode his bike home from a convenience store with his brother and friend. The Paynesville attacks also all happened at night as the victims were heading home. In two cases boys were attacked while riding bikes. They were sexually assaulted. The attacker sometimes wore a mask, which in one case was described as made from candy-striped, indoor-outdoor carpeting. He had a low, gruff voice and he threatened the boys with a knife or a gun, saying he would blow their heads off.

“Some of these were taken from a group of boys. That is really rare,” Patty Wetterling said. “The threat of a gun, the age of the victims, they were close to Jacob’s age. I do think there is a strong possibility they are connected to Jacob’s case.”

While two of the Paynesville victims were questioned by law enforcement after Jacob Wetterling disappeared, one Paynesville victim, who is now 40 and did not want to be named, told WCCO-TV he and other victims he knows were not, and that to this day they feel their cases both individually and as a group were overlooked. Current Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner agreed … the fact that small town law enforcement agencies often acted independently may have kept the Paynesville cases from becoming a significant part of the Jacob Wetterling investigation. …

Sanner stressed there is another unsolved case that investigators have always linked to the abduction. Just months before Jacob Wetterling disappeared, a stranger kidnapped a 12-year-old boy named Jared in nearby Cold Spring. Jared told WCCO-TV the threat his kidnapper left him with: “I was told to run, don’t look back or he would shoot.”

Jared is speaking out for the first time in years. On Thursday, hear why he’s convinced the same man is behind all of these unsolved crimes against boys.

Read Part 2: Abduction Victim Speaks Out on Wetterling Case Read Joy Baker’s Blog

If you have any information about any of these cases, please call the Stearns County Sheriff at (320) 251-4240. You can also call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

Original Report

No Clues to Wetterling Case Found in Items Removed from Site

Sheriff issues statement in Wetterling investigation

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said items recovered in a search could not be identified as evidence. (00:46)

By Kari Petrie and David Unze
St. Cloud Times
September 29, 2010



Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner announced nothing of consequence had yet been found in the midsummer farm search [on the Rassier property in the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping investigation]. “It’s not happy/positive, but it’s pretty much what I thought, that nothing conclusive would be found. I want answers. The best answer would be that Jacob’s alive on some island and he’s well.”

It’s been three months since investigators converged on a St. Joseph Township farm and took six truckloads of dirt and several other items. The finds were tested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and preliminary results were “unable to establish, distinguish or identify potential evidence,” Sanner said Tuesday in a news release. …

“This is just another step in a long, ongoing investigation,” Sanner told the Times on Tuesday.

Still searching

Some items found in the search will undergo further testing, but Sanner would not say what those items are or what sort of testing will be done.

“I’m grateful for the depth of the investigation and for everyone who has put a tremendous amount of energy into finding what was there,” Patty Wetterling said of the search of the farm. “But today’s like any other day; we still don’t have any answers.”

She said she hadn’t been told much about what items were taken from the farm or what the tests of those items revealed. …

High priority

The case remains high priority for the sheriff’s office. For more than two decades, investigators have probed thousands of tips and interviewed thousands of people.

“We’ve fallen off the horse many times before and have gotten back up,” Sanner said. “This isn’t any different.”

Sanner hopes technology will continue to improve and allow for future testing of the items seized.

Because the investigation is ongoing, Sanner said he cannot go into more detail about the items and search. Sanner would not comment on reports by other media outlets about specific items taken during the search June 30 and July 1 at a farm at 29748-91st Ave. in St. Joseph Township.

The abduction happened near the end of the farm’s driveway. The property is owned by Robert and Rita Rassier. Their son Dan Rassier, 54, lives with them and did at the time of the abduction.

After the search of the property, Sanner called Dan Rassier a person of interest in the abduction.

Items seized in search

Dan Rassier said investigators took ash from a burn pit in the backyard, which could have included animal remains. They also took items from a storage shed, including a clothing chest, a lawn chair and the bottom of an umbrella stand. From inside the house, Rassier said officers took a box of his personal items that included personal notes, pictures and news clippings relating to Wetterling’s abduction.

BCA spokeswoman Jill Oliveira confirmed that some testing is still under way on several items. But she could not say what those items are or what type of testing is being done. She also could not provide details on how long testing will take.

Investigators spent a week sifting through the soil and sent what they found to the BCA labs.

Despite the setback of not finding any new evidence in the searches over the summer, Sanner said he remains motivated to solve the case.

“If I was the suspect, I wouldn’t take this as a signal to relax,” Sanner said.

Person of interest

Dan Rassier is an elementary school music and band teacher and has worked full-time for the Rocori school district since 1978. Superintendent Scott Staska said there are no disciplinary actions or complaints in his file. …

Rassier has been interviewed by investigators several times about the disappearance and has said he submitted to DNA sampling and other tests.

Rassier has told the Times he is innocent.

When asked Tuesday if Rassier is still considered a person of interest, Sanner said, “this doesn’t change anything.” …


Exclusive New Details in the Jacob Wetterling Abduction Case

By Cory Kampschroer
September 28, 2010

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said today tests done at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have not uncovered any new substantial leads in the case, but the case remains under investigation. Investigators seized several items during this summer’s search of the rural 158-acre St. Joseph farm.

Just as soon as law enforcement officials starting digging up the farm belonging to Daniel Rassier’s parents, Bob and Rita Rassier, we began uncovering new facts about the investigation.

The Stearns County Sheriff has confirmed Daniel Rassier is a person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling abduction. However, Rassier told he had nothing to do with the abduction of Jacob Wetterling.

While police are not revealing exactly what was taken from the property during the two day search that started June 30th, sources have told exactly what was seized.

During the search of the outbuildings and property, investigators removed six truck loads of dirt and ash.

The dirt and ash was taken to a nearby public works building, where investigators sifted through it looking for any evidence in connection with the Jacob Wetterling abduction. has learned investigators did recover clothing articles and animal bones in the dirt and ash taken from the farm. Some of those items were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab for testing.

Sources tell, investigators removed several items from the farm, including a lawn chair, the base of a patio umbrella stand and a cedar chest. The items had been stored in an area above a four stall garage on the Rassier property.

We have also learned investigators seized a box from Daniel Rassier’s bedroom containing news clippings and articles about the Jacob Wetterling abduction. That box also contained part of Rassier’s journal.

Sources have confirmed to, during this summer’s two-day search, investigators did not have a search warrant for the farm house, but rather just for the outbuildings and property. However, during that first day of the search investigators found enough evidence to go back to a judge and get a warrant for the farm house itself.

This is the third time the Rassier family farm has been searched, the first was immediately after the abduction, the second time was 6 years ago when investigators examined Daniel Rassier’s computer.

Sources also confirm part of the reason why the farm was searched again this summer, was because new investigators took on the case and discovered evidence that had not been examined before. Another reason why investigators converged on the farm this summer is because of advances in technology.

The K-9 searching the Rassier farm was flown to St. Joseph from Louisiana. The K-9 works very closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

We have also learned about a meeting between Daniel Rassier and Patty Wetterling within the past 10-months. Sources tell Wetterling requested a meeting with Daniel Rassier and asked him if he abducted Jacob.

Wetterling also asked Rassier if he had been playing a joke on the three boys and the joke went too far. During the meeting, Rassier told Wetterling what he saw the night Jacob went missing and again told her he had nothing to do with her son’s disappearance. …

Read the full story at


Paraprofessional Pulled from Rassier Classroom

The Associated Press / St. Cloud Times
September 29, 2010

A paraprofessional is no longer stationed in the classroom of a teacher whose property was searched in the Jacob Wetterling case.

Daniel Rassier says St. Boniface elementary school principal Sister Sharon Waldoch called him early Wednesday and told him the news.

Rassier says he was given no reason for the decision. But it comes a day after the Stearns County sheriff said items taken from the Rassier farm this summer yielded no new evidence in the case. …

After Rassier was called a person of interest, Waldoch hired a paraprofessional to accompany him, citing concern from parents. Rassier says he had nothing to do with Jacob’s abduction.


A Plea from the Executive Editor of the St. Cloud Times

St. Cloud Times Executive Editor John Bodette, in his weekly Sunday column on Oct. 3, 2010, writes as follows:

Wetterling case

Last week’s news that tests failed to turn up any evidence in the Jacob Wetterling investigation should be viewed as yet another step in the 21-year search for the boy who was abducted by a masked man near his St. Joseph home.

Fear, anger and frustration continue to build as the search for Jacob goes on without resolution.

In past columns, I have appealed to the person who took Jacob to turn themselves in to authorities and end the nightmare.

The appeal was fallen on deaf ears.

Today I make an appeal to anyone who may have knowledge about the abduction: Call authorities. Bring the nightmare to an end.

Our parents and teachers taught us right from wrong. It is wrong to abduct a child from his family. It is the right thing to do to tell authorities what you know or suspect about the crime. This isn’t the time to lose hope and give up the search.

Call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office [320 259-3700] to report information about this crime.

Expose the wrong and do the right thing.


10/15/2010 Update

Julie Nelson Interviews Wetterling ‘Person of Interest’ (Part 1)

By Julie Nelson
October 4, 2010

COLD SPRING, Minn. — For 21 years Dan Rassier has lived under a cloud of suspicion. He has been called, by police, a person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling case.

Julie Nelson sat down with the 54-year-old, who lives with his parents on the family farm in St. Joseph. Rassier described himself as an avid runner and hard worker.

“I keep myself very busy and on task, probably too much of the time,” said Rassier.

Rassier has also been busy over the years defending his innocence in connection to Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance.

“Why do you think they’ve kept you as a person of interest for so long in the Jacob Wetterling case?” asks Nelson.

“I’m single, living at home with my parents, some people see that as a mark of failure,” said Rassier. “I don’t have a good alibi,” he added.

Rassier was home alone on October 22, 1989, the night a masked gunman appeared by the mailbox of the Rassier farm and ordered Jacob off his bike. Rassier remembers that day.

“One of my memories is it was just a splendid day for running,” he said.

Rassier claims that is what he did the day Jacob went missing. He also says he was updating the index cards he used to organize his record collection.

“I was typing on those cards basically most of the day, if I wasn’t outside running,” said Rassier.

He doesn’t remember what time he went to bed, but says he does remember waking up to the family dog barking.

“And being alone and thinking, well, I better check this out, and there are flashlights in the woods by our woodpiles. I really pretty much panicked. I had no idea what was going on,” said Rassier.

Much has been made of what Rassier did after that. Some news reports said he just went back to bed. Rassier, however, says he went outside, grabbed a flashlight, and searched all the outbuildings on the farm.

“I did quite a bit of searching … Did I sleep? I did eventually go to sleep but at that point it was like, what can I do? I remember getting back out of bed and going, wow, now they’re down in the gravel pit with a spotlight and thinking, Should I go down there? But, I didn’t. I regret that.”

The next day investigators pulled Rassier, a music teacher in the Rocori School District, out of his classroom.

“When they checked my car out I remember thinking, Wow, maybe I’m not a witness,” he said.

“What did you think when you realized they’re looking at me?” asked Nelson.

“I remember thinking, well, they have to check me out. I mean, that’s alright, yeah,” said Rassier.

Twenty-one years later and police are still checking out Dan Rassier. He says he willingly submitted a DNA sample, took a lie detector test, and even underwent hypnosis. He does not know the results of those tests, but knows his family thinks he’s been too forthcoming.

“Part of my problem, and my family would agree with this, is I’ve been too willing to give them information,” he said.

“And your reason for that is?” asked Nelson.

“I have nothing to hide and I want them to solve the case,” he replied.

“Did you have anything to do with Jacob’s disappearance?” asked Nelson.

“The easy answer is to say, I have absolutely nothing to do with the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling. I can’t even believe it’s being talked about 21 years ago. I’ve been trying to help solve the case for 21 years. My problem is I cannot prove with physical evidence and witnesses that I did not do it,” said Rassier.

Julie Nelson’s Conversation with Dan Rassier (Part 2)

By Stacey Nogy and Julie Nelson
October 5, 2010

COLD SPRING, Minn. — For 21 years police have been asking the same question and for all that time, Dan Rassier has been giving the same response.

“I had no idea what was happening up at the mailbox,” said Rassier.

The 54-year-old has been considered a person of interest in the Jacob Wetterling abduction since the day the 11-year-old went missing, October 22, 1989.

Rassier has always maintained he had nothing to do with Jacob’s disappearance. However, more than two decades of suspicion have taken their toll.

“It’s a big thing for me. For 21 years of my life it’s been revolving around, you might say, around this whole conspiracy thing,” said Dan Rassier.

It was six years ago when the scrutiny intensified for Rassier. Investigators ruled out the use of a car in Jacob’s abduction. The attention turned to Rassier.

“I was home alone. I don’t have an alibi,” said Rassier.

Rassier says he has been interrogated more time than he can count.

“They even said to me, this was six years ago, “Would you be willing to just admit you did it and end this whole thing so we can go on and get this solved?” “They’ve said that to me,” said Rassier.

“What was your reaction?” asked Jule Nelson.

“I laughed. I laughed at them. They didn’t like that but for me I have to have a sense of humor about something so serious or I wouldn’t be here. I’d have gone crazy long ago,” answered Rassier.

It’s that sense of humor that Rassier credits for helping him deal with the cloud of suspicion. It hasn’t, however, been as easy for his parents.

“That’s what I’m angry about. It is it’s turned into a monster so to speak. My elderly parents, they really are having a hard time,” he said.

The focus on Rassier returned this past summer when FBI and BCA agents showed up on his parent’s St. Joseph farm with earth digging equipment to look for evidence of Jacob.

“It was the worst day of my life, without a doubt,” said Rassier. “That experience that day…I thought my dad was going to die of a heart attack. It was that ugly.”

Rassier said his dad, angered by a news report the night before, said something he shouldn’t have to investigators and the officers got physical.

“They physically pulled my mom out of the house onto the floor. The way things escalated, I put my arms around my dad just to try to calm him down. He was just so scared of what was happening,” said Rassier.

Invesigators told the Rassiers to leave the property, but Dan got permission to go back briefly to pick up some paperwork.

“In the process I started talking to a few investigators and that was fine with me,” he said. “I drove down to the gravel pit with them. They were asking me a lot of questions.”

Rassier says investigators asked him where somebody would bury a body on the farm. He told them where they should have looked, where they should have dug.

“So you actually wanted them to do more?” asked Nelson.

“I will be in trouble for saying this … yes,” said Dan.

The soil samples taken from the Rassier property yielded no evidence of Jacob. Investigators are still, however, processing things taken from the house, mainly papers from Rassier’s bedroom.

“It’s organized but it’s so much stuff and so much paperwork files on everything and I have a Jacob Wetterling file,” said Dan.

“Why?” asks Julie.

“Why not,” he answers. “Would it be weird to let all of this be lost in my memory.”

Rassier says the file contained newspaper clippings, videotapes of news and a letter from Patty Wetterling.

“Was that letter addressed to you?” asked Julie Nelson.

“It was addressed to me but it looks like it went through the sheriff’s department. It was basically pleading with me to, basically accusing me that I did it and that would you please end this whole thing and let’s wrap this up and come forward.”

Rassier received that letter six years ago, but never responded. Then, last October, he ran into Patty outside his health club.

“She asked me if I could talk and my just reaction was well, yeah, of course. Twenty years is long enough to not talk. So, we sat down and talked for about an hour,” said Dan.

He says Patty asked several times if Dan was responsible for Jacob’s disappearance. He, said no.

Rassier says the fact investigators found nothing on the farm should give everyone hope.

“That Jacob could be alive somewhere. Wouldn’t that be a dream? It could happen. The hope is there and if we have hope then we have something,” said Rassier.


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

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota (Sept. 3, 2016)

“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)

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

Daniel James Heinrich
Danny James Heinrich

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


Dan Rassier Teaching Concerns (Aug. 28, 2010)

Dan Rassier

Wetterling Suspect Dan Rassier (July 3, 2010)

Squad cars and other law enforcement vehicles parked in the farmyard on the Rassier property in rural St. Joseph, Minn., Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo credit: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

Jacob Wetterling: Rassier Search (July 1, 2010)

Stearns County sheriff’s deputies control access to the Rassier farmstead in St. Joseph Township, Minn., while search warrants are being executed on the property in the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping investigation, July 1, 2010. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman)

Josh Guimond: New Developments (May 24, 2010)

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, pause for a prayer before beginning the day’s walk on the east side of St. Cloud at Minnesota Highway 10 and Highway 23 / Division Street.

Guimond: “Justice for Josh” March (Nov. 9, 2009)

On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009, three days before the 7th anniversary of the disappearance of St. John’s University student Joshua Guimond, Josh’s family and supporters convened near the site of Josh’s disappearance for a “Justice for Josh” march to raise public awareness of their son’s plight, after which they delivered a petition for renewed efforts in the search to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. On Saturday evening, the family held a prayer service and candlelight vigil at Josh’s church in Maple Lake.

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)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — October 5, 2009

Taliban Leader Vows Revenge

Image: New Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud
The purported new Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, with his comrade Waliur Rehman, front center. (Photo credit: Ishtiaq Mehsud / AP)

One year ago today, I reported that the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, threatened to strike back at Pakistan and the United States to retaliate for airstrikes by unmanned U.S. drones in northwestern Pakistan.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — October 5, 2008

Image: Activists in Pakistan
Activists of civil society Fundamental Rights Commission chant slogans behind a burning U.S. flag during a rally to condemn the U.S. missile strikes in Pakistani tribal areas, Oct. 5, 2008 in Hyderabad, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Pervez Masih / AP)

After the Primary Election: Day 26

Two years ago today, on the 26th day after losing my 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, in line with my focus on national security, I reported that the senior British commander in Afghanistan said that a decisive military victory in Afghanistan was impossible and that the objective in Afghanistan should be to achieve a manageable level of insurgency that’s not a strategic threat. I also reported on a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan and ongoing violence in Iraq.

12 Responses to “Jacob Wetterling — Latest News”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob’s Kidnapping ‘Comes of Age’ Says:

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  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Guimond: “Justice for Josh” March Says:

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  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Freedom Walk Says:

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  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Tips Says:

    […] In September 2010, Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said preliminary tests at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab on dirt and other items collected in July 2010 at the Rassier farmstead in St. Joseph Township did not identify any potential evidence. Other items are still being tested. […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Missing Person Brandon Swanson Says:

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  6. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Wetterling Friend Shares Story Says:

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  7. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Many Veterans Sour on Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Says:

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  8. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Anniversary Marked By AMBER Alert Donation Says:

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

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  10. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » 25-Year Anniversary of Jacob Wetterling Abduction Says:

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  11. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » New Book on Jacob Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects Says:

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  12. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Daniel Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Says:

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