As hard as its got to be for his family, at least now they know.

Reports: Remains of Jacob Wetterling have been found
By West Central Tribune Today at 10:20 a.m.

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ST. JOSEPH, Minn. — After nearly 27 years of not knowing what happened to Jacob Wetterling — the 11-year-old boy abducted on a dirt road in 1989 near his home in rural St. Joseph — there are reports today the boy’s remains have been found.

According to multiple Twin Cities media reports, during the last two days a key suspect in the case — Daniel Heinrich of Annandale — reportedly led authorities to a Stearns County site where law enforcement have found remains that are being tested for identification.
In a brief text message to media, Wetterling’s mother, Patty Wetterling said, “Our hearts are broken. We have no words.”

She later told KARE 11 Saturday morning that Jacob’s remains have been found. “All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as I have no words.”

Jacob was 11 when he was kidnapped shortly after 9 p.m. on the night of Oct. 22, 1989, as he and his brother, Trevor, 10, and best friend, Aaron Larson, 11, rode their bikes to a Tom Thumb store not far from the family’s rural St. Joseph home to rent a video.

As they headed home, a masked man with a gun appeared on the remote dirt road leading to the Wetterling house, told the boys to lie face down in a nearby ditch and asked each his age. He then ordered Trevor and Aaron to run to the woods and not look back. When the boys did, Jacob and the masked man were gone.

Heinrich, who lived in Paynesville, Minn., about 30 miles southwest of St. Joseph, at the time of Jacob’s abduction, was first questioned by investigators soon after it happened, and several times in 1990. He said at that time that he was not involved in the case, authorities have said.

Heinrich re-emerged as a “person of interest” last summer, authorities have said, because of similarities to the January 1989 kidnapping and sexual assault of a Cold Spring boy, Jared Scheierl, who escaped.

Scheierl has been vocal in recent years about telling his story and last year DNA from that attack was linked to Heinrich.

Heinrich has been in federal custody since October 2015 on child pornography charges. Because the statute of limitations had expired, Henrich could not be charged in the assault on Scheierl, but he had continued to be a person of interest in the Wetterling case.

It’s being reported today that Heinrich was taken from prison on two occasions this week to show authorities where they could find Wetterling’s body.

Heinrich was arrested in October and later charged with 25 counts of possessing and receiving child pornography; he pleaded not guilty to those charges in February in U.S. District Court.

Check back for updates.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune contributed to this report.

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