MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nine months before Jacob Wetterling disappeared, a 12-year-old boy named Jared Scheierl was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man in nearby Cold Spring.
Last year authorities tested a sweatshirt that Scheierl wore that day, and found Danny Heinrich’s DNA.
“It’s always been a part of who I am. Call me a helicopter dad, but fear of children’s safety has always been one of my biggest concerns,” Scheierl said.
Scheierl is now 40 years old and a father of three. He was with one of his young sons when he heard the news about Jacob Wetterling.
“It’s 27 years later and I’m looking at my own 12 year old boy. It was a moment that was spiritual, kind of surreal. I’m still processing it in some ways,” Scheierl said.
Last fall, Jared learned authorities couldn’t prosecute Danny Heinrich in his case because it was too late.
“They said the good news is we have your guy, the bad news is the statute of limitations exists in your case and we cannot prosecute him. There was a level of anger that came up,” Scheierl said.
He’s relieved the Wetterling family now has some closure and thinks that maybe now he can too. Jared doesn’t know what prompted Heinrich to talk now.
“Sitting in jail for a year, reflecting on the past. The truth catches us. The truth will come out,” Scheierl said.
Jared says he wants a chance to talk to Heinrich, face to face, and maybe he will have that opportunity in court during a sentencing hearing.