New “Person of Interest” in Jacob Wetterling Case
It’s been one of the longest, most widely-covered stories in Minnesota over the past 25+ years. It was also an event that caused parents throughout Minnesota to think twice before letting their children venture out in their neighborhoods on their own.
In October 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted near his St. Joseph, Minnesota neighborhood by an unknown assailant. Despite countless efforts to find Wetterling and those responsible for his disappearance, Wetterling has never been found and no suspects have ever been charged with crimes related to his disappearance.
Now, however, a new person of interest has come to light. Danny James Heinrich, 52, of Annandale, Minnesota, has been arrested for possession of child pornography that was found during a search of Heinrich’s home on July 28, 2015. The raid uncovered, among other items, 19 three-ring binders and hours of video of young boys. Heinrich lived in Paynesville, Minnesota in 1989, at the time of Wetterling's disappearance. Paynesville is approximately 40 miles from Annandale.
DNA has been obtained that allegedly connects Heinrich to a previously-unsolved abduction and sexual assault case in Cold Spring, Minnesota in January 1989. Heinrich has not been charged in that case, as the statute of limitations on the case has passed. He is expected to be charged with several counts of child pornography.
Heinrich has not been charged with any crimes associated with the Jacob Wetterling disappearance at this point, but the investigation will continue. Heinrich has denied being involved in Wetterling’s disappearance.