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.

Comments (17)
  1. Tim says:

    Heinrich should be taken out and buried alive. The lack of a death penalty in this state, and bleeding heart judges, leads to often released perpetual offenders.

  2. Don Sharp says:

    He molested and murdered an 11 year old boy… doesn’t matter what state he’s in… he’s never getting out.

  3. Tricia says:

    Actually he could potentially get out. I believe he is 53, and in November, he will officially be sentenced to 20 years with no chance of parole. So, if still alive, he would be released at age 73. Btw, the 20 years is for the child pornography charge. The family of Jacob agreed to a plea deal where Heinrich pled guilty to child pornography charges but no murder charge. In doing so, he also agreed to confess to the crimes against Jacob and Jared.
    I do agree he should never be a free man. What he did was heinous and evil.

  4. Andrea says:

    The other prisoners will take good care of this sick, twisted, pathetic excuse for a human being. I give him five years maximum until the wrath of another inmate hands his soul to the devil.

  5. barry waterfield says:

    All you want is to hear your attacker say ‘I’m sorry, I gave you a bad time’ but these people never seem able top do that. Despite what Jared says, he will still feel vulnerable underneath. Like a plant that been torn up, you never put down such sure roots again and deep down the feeling of helplessness is always there even when you’re a grown man.If Jacob had survived he too would have been scared by what happened. Goodnight Jacob God Bless.