Authorities Confirm Remains are Jacob Wetterling’s
ST. CLOUD - The Stearns County Sheriff's Office has confirmed this Saturday evening that Jacob Wetterling's remains have been located.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, says the Ramsey County Medical Examiner and a forensic odontologist identified the remains as Wetterling earlier today. Additional DNA testing will be performed by the BCA.
Sanner says the Stearns County Attorney's Office and the United States Attorney's Office are in the "process of reviewing and evaluating new evidence" in the Wetterling case.
Additional information is expected to be provided early next week.
Earlier this morning KARE 11-TV reported that Patty Wetterling confirmed that the remains are Jacob.
KSTP-TV reports that over the last few days searchers have been in Stearns County looking for the remains of Jacob Wetterling.
This, after KSTP, says a person of interest may have told FBI agents where they could find the boy's body.
In a text message to WJON's Dan DeBaun, Patty Wetterling says: "Our hearts are broken. We have no words...."
The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center released this statement earlier this morning..."We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. In this moment of pain and shock, we go back to the beginning. The Wetterlings had a choice to walk into bitterness and anger or to walk into a light of what could be, a light of hope. Their choice changed the world. Today, we gather around the same flame. The flame that has become more than the hope for one as it led the way home for thousands of others. It’s the light that illuminates a world that Jacob believed in, where things are fair and just. Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished."
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar made the following statement regarding the recent updates in the Wetterling case:
“The Wetterling family's long journey in search of their son has come to a sad end this week. Twenty-seven years ago, 11-year-old Jacob disappeared while riding his bike in Stearns County. Today, his mom announced that his remains have finally been found."
“Patty Wetterling is a friend and I have seen firsthand her extraordinary advocacy for children and how she has turned her grief into action. The Wetterling family and all who knew and loved Jacob are in our hearts today.”
Klobuchar and Patty Wetterling have worked together on criminal justice issues and legislation related to missing children.
Congressman Tom Emmer released the following statement regarding the recent developments in the Jacob Wetterling case:
"Jacob Wetterling's disappearance on October 22nd, 1989 shattered the innocence of all Minnesotans. Today, Jacquie and I join people across this nation in sending our deepest sympathies to the Wetterling family. Throughout this ordeal, Patty has been a pillar of strength and the ultimate example to me and many others of the love every parent has for their children. While this is not the outcome we hoped and prayed for these past 27 years, we now hope and pray today that the Wetterling family is able to find some peace and comfort at this tragic time."
The Following is a statement from Governor Mark Dayton:
“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. Today, we continue to offer our love and support, as the Wetterling family finally brings their son home to rest.
“I hope they will find solace in knowing that they do not stand alone. Jacob’s story has touched the lives and hearts of Minnesotans for a generation.
“Today, I pray for a measure of peace for the Wetterling family and for all Minnesotans touched by this terrible tragedy. And I thank the law enforcement officials and others who never stopped searching for him."
The following is a statement from Lt. Governor Tina Smith:
“There is nothing parents fear more than losing their child. For one Minnesota family nearly 27 years ago, that fear became tragically real. None of us will ever know what the Wetterlings have gone through, on that day, or on each day since.
But every Minnesota family has felt their loss. My own sons were small when Jacob was lost, and for more than two decades, our family and all Minnesota families have hurt, prayed, and hoped alongside the Wetterlings.
That pain won’t end today. But as the Wetterling family finally brings Jacob home, I hope they will find love and support in the thousands of families, including mine, in Minnesota, who have hurt, hoped, and prayed alongside them. The Wetterling family never stopped searching. We stand in solidarity with the Wetterlings as they seek justice, and peace. We will always keep Jacob in our hearts.”
WJON news has reached out the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota BCA, the FBI, and other sources but none of the agencies have been willing to talk to us at this time.
Chief Paul Wegner from the Paynesville Police Department released a statement to the numerous requests for information in the Wetterling Case.
"The Paynesville Police Department has been aware of the recent developments in the Jacob Wetterling Abduction Case from media reports. Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out Patty and Jerry Wetterling and their entire family during this difficult time. The Paynesville Police Department is not and has not been involved in the investigation into the disappearance of Jacob nor have we been informed of the details of the investigation. Please refer all inquiries to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI".
Daniel Heinrich has been held for unrelated child pornography charges but was named a person of interest last October in regards to Jacob's disappearance in St. Joseph back in 1989. KSTP says he recently agreed to cooperate and gave authorities information on where to find the body. Searchers have reportedly been at an undisclosed site for the last few days.
An investigation into the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling led to the arrest of Heinrich in Annandale last year. The arrest wasn’t related to the Wetterling case, but search warrants at Heinrich’s home turned up 19 binders full of photos of naked young boys and video tapes.
A search warrant was used at Heinrich’s home at 55 Myrtle Avenue South to seek evidence related to the January 13, 1989, kidnapping and sexual assault of the Cold Spring boy and the abduction of Jacob.
According to the criminal complaint, among the suspected child pornography images found in the home, where more than 100 images that appear to depict child pornography, some of which depict know child victims, based on a review of a national database of known victims of sexual abuse.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner previously said Heinrich was looked at as a suspect since 1989. He resided in the Paynesville area at the time Wetterling was kidnapped. Between 1986 and 1988 there were multiple incidents in which young males were physically and/or sexually assaulted in Paynesville.
The Associated Press Contributed to this story