'Person of interest' in Wetterling disappearance has criminal history


Federal authorities are calling Daniel Heinrich of Annandale a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling.

Heinrich, 52, is facing charges of child pornography after authorities said they found pornographic images of boys during a July search of his home. Prosecutors say investigators also found hours of videos of neighborhood boys delivering newspapers, riding bicycles and playing in public playgrounds or in sports activities.

The U.S. Attorney's office says they also have DNA evidence linking Heinrich to the abduction of another boy who – like Wetterling – was abducted in Stearns County in 1989. Prosecutors say Heinrich's DNA was found on an article of clothing worn by the victim of a case in Cold Spring.

Wetterling was abducted in St. Joseph later that year.

Investigators who arrived at Heinrich's home in July were searching for information and evidence related to the two abductions, which they have said for years may have been connected.

Who is Danny Heinrich?

Heinrich now lives in Annandale but in 1989 his home was in Paynesville, about a 30 minute drive from St. Joseph.

WCCO notes that Heinrich dropped out of high school in his junior year and later joined the National Guard.

His known criminal history includes:

  • A DWI conviction from 1982
  • A misdemeanor conviction for burglary in 1984
  • Another DWI arrest in 1986

According to the Star Tribune, Heinrich has filed for bankruptcy twice, once in 2003 then again in 2011.

One of his neighbors in Annandale told WCCO that when agents were searching his home in July, Heinrich said he'd been questioned about the Wetterling abduction years ago and was released, adding that he "thought that was all done and in the past."

This embed is invalid

Another neighbor in Annandale told KARE 11 Heinrich was "kind of a hermit," who did not often leave his house. She said that in the two years she'd lived next door to him, she never suspected anything was amiss until investigators arrived to search the home this summer.

Next Up

University of Minnesota

U of M will halt admissions to 12 PhD programs

The move is expected to help address the school's estimated budget shortfall of $166 million.

snow, plow

NWS says 'increasing potential for an impactful winter storm' this weekend

Nothing is certain yet. The weather service advises Minnesotans to monitor the forecast.

Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO.

Under-fire Mike Lindell claims retailers have dropped MyPillow

The MyPillow CEO is seeing receiving backlash as he continues to share conspiracy theories about the election.

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Antoine Winfield Jr. says playoff win was "for my pops back in '09"

The son of the Vikings legend did not forget about "Bountygate."

Jared Vanderbilt

Shorthanded Timberwolves fall to Atlanta in Monday matinee

D'Angelo Russell scored 31 points, but didn't have much help.

police lights

Man, 72, critical after possible robbery outside Minneapolis business

The 72-year-old sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.


It could take months to vaccinate MN teachers, people 65 and older

"This is going to be harder than going to Ticketmaster and trying to get Bruce Springsteen tickets," Walz said.

Herb Brooks statue

Trump's planned statue garden would include 2 Minnesotans, others with MN links

But there were some notable names absent from the wide-ranging and eclectic list.

k9 zeke

Petition seeks to allow retired Corcoran officer to keep K9 partner

Corcoran's public safety director says if K9 Zeke is donated to the officer it will be a loss for the department.