EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (KMSP) - The discovery of Jacob Wetterling’s remains has been both astonishing and sobering news.
“All along all anybody’s wanted is answers,” Robert Dudley, self-proclaimed amateur sleuth and author told FOX 9 Monday inside his Eau Claire, Wis. home.
Dudley has been deeply involved in piecing together the puzzle of Jacob’s abduction and describes the latest developments as “bittersweet.”
As the man behind It Can’t Happen Here: The Search for Jacob Wetterling, Dudley is, however, more relieved than most over what FBI agents uncovered over the weekend.
His true crime casebook was fueled by personal frustration and a quest to find answers.
In its second edition, Answers in the Sand, Dudley reveals the circumstances tying Dan Heinrich to Jacob’s case from the very beginning.
“You have the Paynesville police telling Stearns County you should expect to see evidence of Dan Heinrich in a driveway and then they find his shoeprints and his tires and this was back in 1990,” Dudley recalled.
When Dudley came across notes from a prison interview conducted more than two decades ago with Duane Hart, a convicted pedophile, he took action. Those notes became the very research that in September 2014 led Dudley to turn Heinrich’s name into the FBI.
“In the original book argued that it’s more likely the abductor was someone Hart had abused more than it was Hart himself. And that turned out to be true. There have been many reports Hart abused Heinrich,” said Dudley.
Dudley sensed finality was on the horizon since Heinrich’s arrest last October.
“I think the only way they were going to get anything out of him was to make a deal,” said Dudley.
A deal Dudley considers a price paid to find the answers sought since October 22, 1989.
“[Heinrich] will plead guilty to pornography and have immunity for Jacob. I think that’s what we’ll find,” predicted Dudley about what he expects to unfold this week.
Until more is uncovered Dudley suggests we remember those truly affected by Jacob’s case.
“The most important thing is to think about the family, think about Jacob and all that he’s ultimately done for the safety of every child that came after him and forevermore.”
The poignant reason Jacob Wetterling’s legacy should matter to everyone.
“There’s not a person alive that’s not impacted somehow directly or indirectly through relatives,” saif Dudley.
Dudley expects answers about whether or not Heinrich acted alone and how agents got him to lead them to remains to be revealed as early as Tuesday.