MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One week ago marked the 26th anniversary since the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling.
Investigators say they think a masked gunman confronted then 11-year-old Jacob, his brother Trevor and their friend Aaron. Jacob has never been found.
Six weeks after Jacob was abducted, the FBI announced they believed Jacob’s kidnapper had struck before. In January 1989, in the nearby town of Cold Spring, a man in a car approached a 12-year-old boy named Jared, kidnapped him and sexually assaulted him.
Jared’s case has also never been solved.
Newspaper articles revealed a series of sexual assaults in Paynesville in 1986 and 1987, two years before Jared’s and Jacob’s kidnappings. Paynesville is just a few miles from where both boys were abducted.
Several suspects and theories have been investigated since.
According to court documents, in 1990, Danny Heinrich was questioned in relation to the Wetterling case, but was never charged. And he is being looked at in the series of unsolved attacks in Paynesville from the late 1980s.
Investigators revealed Thursday Heinrich had 19 three-ring binders of child pornography. No photos of Jacob were in there.
But, court documents say DNA evidence links him to Jared’s kidnapping, which is why the FBI named him a person of interest in Wetterling’s case.