MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate a father and son from Paynesville to see if they might be connected to the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling.
Delbert and Tim Huber are in prison for the 2011 murder of Tim Larson, an Albertville teacher who the Hubers shot in dispute over $50. Tips about the Hubers have been coming into the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department since WCCO-TV aired stories last week about a series of unsolved sexual attacks on young boys in Paynesville that took place two years before the Wetterling abduction.
Neighbors said Delbert Huber terrorized anyone who dared to come near his farm home outside rural Paynesville.
“He threatened to shoot us, physically with a gun actually pointed right at us,” Brian Jones said.
In the early 1980s, Brian Jones’ father bought the gravel pit in back of the Huber farm. Over the years he had many encounters with Delbert Huber, most of them threatening. After Wetterling disappeared, Delbert Huber was one of many people questioned by law enforcement.
Another neighbor, David Lauer, said Delbert even boasted about it.
“He was proud of the attention,” Lauer said of Huber. “‘They think they got something on me. What are they going to prove?'”
Delbert lived with his wife Jane, her brother Harvey and Tim Huber. Lauer said Delbert beat both Harvey, who was mentally disabled, and Tim.
“[Tim] … told me that Delbert just hit him and hit him hard,” Lauer said.
Few outsiders were ever allowed into the Huber home, which had no indoor sewer system.
“Chickens, cats, dogs in the house,” Jones said.
Lauer said Huber’s home “reeked terrible.”
After the Hubers were arrested for the 2011 murder of Tim Larson, the property was sold. Six months ago, the home and farm buildings were destroyed.
Now that the Hubers are being investigated for a possible link to the Wetterling case as well as the unsolved sexual assaults in Paynesville, Jones said he remembers seeing a white van on the property, similar to the one police put out an alert for in 1989 in connection to the Wetterling case.
“The white van was still there at the time of the Larson murder,” Jones said.
And Jones said he immediately recognized a photo of a vintage 1970s-era blue parka with an orange lining posted by Joy Baker, a local blogger who first uncovered the unsolved Paynesvlle assaults. The coat was described by at least one of the Paynesville victims. Jones said he saw both Delbert and Harvey wear a parka like that.
And Jones remembers Delbert Huber’s voice.
“Very raspy, deeper, raspy voice,” Jones said.
The suspects in Wetterling’s kidnapping seen in two sketches and another abduction that happened in nearby Cold Spring before Jacob and the Paynesville cases all were described as having a raspy, rough, low voice.
The Stearns County Sheriff said investigators are looking into all tips, including ones involving the Hubers.Anyone with any information is asked to call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at 320-251-4240.