Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Remains discovered are Jacob Wetterling, medical examiner confirms

Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found, nearly 27 years after the boy disappeared, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon.
Author:

Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found, nearly 27 years after the boy disappeared, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon.

According to authorities, the Ramsey County medical examiner and a forensic odontologist identified the remains Saturday.

The remains were discovered after Danny Heinrich – the man who was named a person of interest in the 1989 disappearance of 11-year-old Jacob – provided information that led authorities to a site in central Minnesota, sources told KSTP.

The sheriff's office also said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will do more DNA testing.

Patty Wetterling, Jacob's mother, said on Twitter her family is "drawing strength" from the support.

https://twitter.com/pattywetterling/status/772125112569065473

WCCO says the FBI took Heinrich out of jail at least twice this week, and that he led them to Stearns County, where officials found the remains and some of Jacob's clothing.

BringMeTheNews will update this story as more information becomes available.

'Jacob, you are loved'

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, which Patty Wetterling and her husband Jerry started to help prevent the exploitation of children, released a statement Saturday, saying: "We are in deep grief. We didn't want Jacob's story to end this way. ... Jacob, you are loved."

More about Danny Heinrich

Heinrich, 52, faces 25 charges of possessing and receiving child porn after investigators say they found child pornography in dozens of three-ring binders in his Annandale home during a search last summer.

He was taken into custody in October 2015, which is when the U.S. Attorney’s Office discussed his possible connection to the Wetterling case – though authorities emphasized he is not a suspect, and he has denied any involvement.

Heinrich pleaded not guilty to the charges in a court hearing in February that lasted about five minutes, the Star Tribune reported. The case is expected to go to trial next month.

Officials have also linked him to the January 1989 kidnapping and sexual assault of a 12-year-old Cold Spring boy through DNA. Heinrich was living in the area where several other boys were assaulted during that time.

Heinrich was interviewed in 1990 in connection with the Wetterling case, WCCO reported.

Public figures react

Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his condolences to the Wetterling family Saturday afternoon in a statement.

“For nearly 27 years, Minnesotans have held the Wetterling family in their thoughts and prayers, as they never gave up hope and never stopped searching for their beloved Jacob," Dayton said. "Today, we continue to offer our love and support, as the Wetterling family finally brings their son home to rest."

Dayton went on to say that the Wetterling family is not alone in this as "Jacob’s story has touched the lives and hearts of Minnesotans for a generation."

Other lawmakers have also released statements.

"With today’s heartbreaking news, all of Minnesota grieves with Patty, Jerry, and the entire Wetterling family. At this tragic time, it is my hope that Jacob will finally rest in peace as he is brought home to his family and so many who love him," U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said in an email statement Saturday.

She also thanked the Wetterling family for their "tireless advocacy and leadership" they have provided for missing and exploited children across the country.

https://twitter.com/amyklobuchar/status/772128549725691905

Minnesotans who have been following the story of Jacob’s mysterious disappearance have also been sharing their condolences to the Wetterling family on social media, calling Jacob “Minnesota’s son.”

https://twitter.com/KarlynColeman/status/772063141014437888?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/JackHighberger/status/772111810967121921

A show of support for the Wetterling family. White ribbons with a yellow J line the pillars of one business.

A photo posted by rmslavik (@rmslavik) on Sep 3, 2016 at 10:16am PDT

Next Up

Chris Finch

Hawks bury Timberwolves in 3-point barrage

Without D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves couldn't keep up with the Hawks.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Kirk Ciarocca returning to Gophers as offensive coordinator

The architect of the 2019 offense will look to revive the Gophers.

Klobuchar - MTP - NBC screengrab

Klobuchar says Congress should pass law to protect abortion rights

Her comments came as the Supreme Court appears poised to weaken — or gut — Roe v. Wade

MPD missing Heard - crop 1_

Minneapolis woman missing a week is found safe

The 36-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from recently.

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

Related

Danny Heinrich admits to sexually assaulting, killing Jacob Wetterling

Danny Heinrich admitted he assaulted and then killed Jacob Wetterling the night he disappeared.

Porch lights left on across the world in remembrance of Jacob Wetterling

For 27 years, Minnesotans have left their porch lights on every Oct. 22 for Jacob Wetterling, who went missing on that date in 1989.

'I want to say Jacob, I'm so sorry': Patty Wetterling after the confession

Just minutes after a 53-year-old Minnesota man detailed how he kidnapped, assaulted and killed her son almost 27 years ago, Patty Wetterling spoke.

Danny Heinrich, who admitted to killing Jacob Wetterling, gets 20 years in prison

Danny Heinrich admitted to killing Jacob Wetterling in exchange for fewer charges.

A new podcast will explore the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling

Jacob Wetterling disappeared nearly 27 years ago – he has never been found, and no one has been charged in the case.

Patty Wetterling: 'We are deeply grieving'

As the Wetterlings continue grieving the death of Jacob, Patty Wetterling says there are some things people can do to bring them comfort.

Danny Heinrich will be in court today

The person of interest in Jacob Wetterling's disappearance will be in court today in connection to a federal child pornography case.