MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the corner of Myrtle and Spruce in the city of Annandale, a quiet neighborhood was cast into infamy.

“We’re just happy to get this done,” developer Tim Thone said.

What Thone was getting done was getting rid of a house of horror. That’s what many thought of the tiny house where for years lived Danny Heinrich.

At the time of his residence, nobody knew he would ultimately be convicted of the kidnapping and killing of Jacob Wetterling in October 1989.

“Minnesotans are so moved, so proud of how Jacob Wetterling touched us,” Thone said.

With Jacob’s mom Patty and Jared Sheierl at his side, Thone gave the go-ahead to tear into the house. Within minutes an excavator’s powerful claw ripped studs and rafters into shards of splintered wood, dumping the debris into large roll-off waste containers.

Thone paid cash to buy the home last week.

For Patty Wetterling, a festering symbol of evil is soon gone for good.

“It’s like taking an eraser and getting rid of a lot of bad so that we can move forward with the good. There’s so many good people doing amazing things,” Patty said.

Ridding it for the entire community, which was shocked that such a person was living in their midst.

“I think it’s good to get it out of here and who would even want to live in there anyway? What would you ever do with something like that?” Stearns County Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold said.

In this season of giving, Thone gave a gift to everyone, simply by taking something haunting away.

“I just want to say we’re sorry for Mr. and Mrs. Wetterling and I am glad we are here. This is the right thing to do,” Thone said.

A reminder of what’s wrong in life, gone for good, replaced by the need for healing.

“We’re so grateful for the love of community and that it can move forward,” Patty Wetterling adds.

Thone said he will give the land to the city of Annandale to do whatever they want with it. His only two requirements are that neither his name, nor Heinrich’s name, be attached to property or whatever the city decides to do.

Bill Hudson

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