The parents of Jacob Wetterling are hosting a community event Monday night they hope will provide "sharing and healing" to residents of Paynesville.
KARE 11 reports that Patty and Jerry Wetterling have organized the event in Paynesville to help those impacted by the recent arrest of Daniel Heinrich.
Heinrich has been charged with child pornography offenses, but authorities discovered DNA evidence that has seen him classed as a "person of interest' in the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling from St. Joseph, and a series of sexual assaults on children in the Paynesville area in the 1980s.
According to the Star Tribune the Wetterlings, who created the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center to help families of missing children, will speak to citizens at the Paynesville High School auditorium from 7 p.m.
"Since the [announcement], our lives and yours have been thrown together in a state of chaos,” the Wetterlings wrote in a statement to the community, according to the newspaper. "Our hope is to connect with the residents of Paynesville for a night of sharing and healing, so we can all move forward with positive energy and a renewed hope to find answers."
Paynesville Police Chief Paul Wegner told the St. Cloud Times the event will give people a better idea of the help available to them as they cope with the ongoing developments in the case.
"This is an opportunity to help those people who were impacted, give them an opportunity to come out and hear from the Wetterlings and hear about some resources that they've had through the years to help them deal with the things they were going through," he said.
He added: "It's also an opportunity to show to not only the victims but the community as a whole, and for those media that cover it, that what happened 30 years ago in Paynesville doesn't define who we were then and doesn't define who we are now."