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Person of interest in Wetterling case in court Monday on child porn charges

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The Annandale man prosecutors call a person of interest in Jacob Wetterling's abduction will be in federal court Monday to face child pornography charges.

Daniel Heinrich, 52, faces 25 charges of possessing and receiving child porn. Federal agents collected evidence at Heinrich's home last summer and took him into custody in October, when the U.S. Attorney's office discussed his possible connection to the Wetterling case.

Heinrich lived in Stearns County in 1989 when Wetterling, who was 11, was abducted from a St. Joseph roadside. In that same year a Cold Spring boy, Jared Scheierl, was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in a case investigators say has similarities to Wetterling's.

DNA evidence on Scheirel's clothing has been matched to Heinrich but the statute of limitations in that case has run out, meaning Heinrich cannot be charged with that crime. Scheirel, now 39, told WCCO Sunday: “I feel like procrastination on the law enforcement side may have constituted injustice on my side.”

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Authorities say Heinrich has denied any involvement in the kidnappings of Scheirel and Wetterling.

Reports say he is expected to plead not guilty to the child porn charges Monday.

According to FOX 9, attorneys on both sides say the case against Heinrich is a complex one, citing the ties to other crimes decades ago. FOX says prosecutors have shared more than 1,000 pages of documents with Heinrich's lawyers.

The Star Tribune says Heinrich will be arraigned at 10 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

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