ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (WCCO) – Patty and Jerry Wetterling made an emotional appeal Tuesday for anyone with information on the disappearance of their son to come forward.
It’s an appeal that they have been making for 26 years, but it was clear there is a new urgency.
Patty and Jerry Wetterling made their plea to reporters from the driveway of their home in St. Joseph, the city where their 11-year-old son was abducted in 1989.
“We wanted to do this here because this is where it happened,” Patty Wetterling said. “We still don’t know who took Jacob.”
Both parents thanked law enforcement and the media for their help over the past 26 years in the effort to find their son. They gave special thanks to the people of Minnesota.
“No one plays a more important role than you, everyday citizens,” Jerry Wetterling said.
The place where Jacob was abducted is less than half a mile away from the Wetterling home. Jacob was riding his bike with his brother and a friend around 9 p.m. on Sunday night when a masked gunman kidnapped him.
The Wetterlings did not mention the man now considered a person of interest in their son’s case.
“I refused to be silenced by this man,” Patty Wetterling said. “We were caught off guard like all of you. We don’t have the answers yet.”
Last Thursday, 52-year-old Danny Heinrich, of Annandale, was named a person of interest in Jacob’s abduction.
Heinrich was charged with possessing child porn, and authorities say his DNA was found on evidence in a Cold Spring child abduction and assault case that happened just months before the Wetterling abduction.
Investigators believe the two abductions are related.
Heinrich is also suspected in string of attacks on young boys in the late ’80s in Paynesville, the city where he lived at the time.
The Wetterlings say they are holding out hope for Jacob and believe someone in the community knows what happened to their son.
“Somebody knows, and we are begging for those answers,” Patty Wetterling said.
The Wetterlings will not be in court on Wednesday, when Heinrich is slated to make an appearance in court. Patty Wetterling will be in Washington D.C., working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Jacob Wetterling Abduction Resources: