On Monday, a spokesperson for the Wetterlings said the family likely will meet with media in the coming days to talk about the case that shocked and saddened a generation of Minnesotans.
Wetterling was 11 years old when he was kidnapped at gunpoint by a man wearing a mask in October 1989 near his home in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Saturday that a person of interest in Jacob’s abduction took authorities to a field in central Minnesota the week before. Patty Wetterling said Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 that his remains have been found. Daniel Heinrich, who authorities have called a person of interest in the 1989 kidnapping, denied any involvement and was not charged with that crime.
“I said, ‘don’t cry, ‘” Heinrich said.
Heinrich’s attorney did not respond to an emailed request for comment Saturday.
As the heartbreaking news spread, mourners tried to find a way to honor Jacob’s life.
On Monday, she posted a message that reads, “Everyone wants to know what they can do to help us”.
Other fairgoers echoed that comment, and added that they felt awful for the Wetterling family.
Danny Heinrich, 53, of Annandale, made the admission as he pleaded guilty to a federal child pornography charge that could keep him locked up for at least 20 years, with civil commitment possible after that.
In addition to pushing for legislation to protect against sex offenders, the Wetterlings have been advocating through their nonprofit, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
After driving back to his home and staying for a couple of hours, Heinrich testified that he returned to the gravel pit and dragged Jacob’s body approximately 100 yards to bury him. There, he forced Jacob to disrobe and perform a sexual act on him until the boy told Heinrich he was cold.
Investigators have yet to say whether anyone has been charged, and there is still no official word on who the suspect is.
‘What did I do wrong?’ Jacob asked Heinrich after he forced the boy into his auto.
At the time of his arrest a year ago, as he had done since 1989, Heinrich insisted he was innocent in Jacob’s disappearance.
“It seems to me that a similar strategy was adopted here to prosecute Heinrich for any and all similar crimes”, he said. “To us, Jacob was alive, until we found him”. His smiling face was burned into Minnesota’s psyche, appearing on countless posters and billboards over the years. They say authorities are reviewing new evidence in the case and expect to provide more information early next week.
As part of Tuesday’s plea deal, Heinrich also admitted to assaulting Scheierl.
Danny Heinrich’s status conference is set for 1 p.m.in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
Using technology that wasn’t available back in 1989, investigators found Heinrich’s DNA on the 12-year-old’s sweatshirt, Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis office, said when authorities announced Heinrich’s arrest last October.