• May 24, 2024

Uncovered Human Remains Provide Long-Awaited Answers In Missing Boy Case

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The remains of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy kidnapped from a rural Minnesota road nearly 27 years ago, have been identified, authorities said, providing long-awaited answers to a mystery that has captivated residents and sparked changes in the nation’s sex offender laws.

A masked gunman abducted Jacob in October of 1989 near the boy’s home in St. Joseph, about 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement Saturday that “Jacob Wetterling’s remains have been located” and that the Ramsey County medical examiner and a forensic dentist identified them Saturday.

Additional DNA testing will be conducted and investigators are continuing to evaluate new evidence in the case, the sheriff’s office said, adding that authorities expect to be able to provide more details early next week.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press earlier Saturday that a person of interest in Jacob’s abduction took authorities to a field in central Minnesota last week. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing case, said remains and other evidence were recovered and that the remains had been buried.

Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling, sent a text message to KARE-TV earlier Saturday, saying that Jacob “has been found and our hearts are broken.” She did not immediately respond to calls and text messages from The Associated Press.

Jacob was riding his bicycle with his brother and a friend on Oct. 22, 1989, when a masked gunman abducted him. Authorities said the man held on to Jacob and told the other boys to run. Jacob hadn’t been seen since, despite extensive searches, tens of thousands of leads and offers of a monetary reward.

No one has been arrested or charged in his abduction, which led to changes in sex-offender registration laws.

But last year, authorities took another look at the case, and were led to Danny Heinrich, a man they called a “person of interest” in Jacob’s kidnapping.

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