(KMSP) - He will forever be linked to Jacob Wetterling. Both of them were abducted and sexually assaulted by Danny Heinrich, but Jared Scheierl survived his ordeal.
When asked what feelings he had as Heinrich confessed in court this week, Scheierl said, “I didn't care at that point. I don't even need him to confess. I know he's guilty.
Scheierl reports the last few days have been an absolute whirlwind.
"I went into this just looking for the answers,” he said. “First for myself because law enforcement wasn’t sure initially if the cases were connected.”
Scheierl has been inundated with messages of support from across the globe, some referring to him as a hero for speaking out about his attack, for fighting for justice and for fighting for Jacob. That's why he donned a Captain America t-shirt on Thursday -- a little fun, a little color, a little hope during a difficult time for so many.
"There are a great number of victims out there who identify with the pain & suffering that I went through. They feel I am courageous because I'm able to stand in front of a camera and talk about the shameful details I carry with me,” said Scheierl.
We now know the story. Jared, then 12-years old, was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in cold spring nine months before Jacob Wetterling was snatched at gunpoint in St. Joseph.
Last year, DNA proved Danny Heinrich was the man responsible for Jared's attack.
Last week, Heinrich led investigators to Jacob's remains, on the edge of Paynesville, the community Jared has called home for decades.
And on Tuesday, Heinirch finally admitted to all of his despicable and heinous acts at the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis.
“Watching the Wetterlings go through that. That was by far one of the most powerful moments of my life,” recalled Scheierl, who now is a father to his own 12-year old son.
On Thursday, before his interview with Fox 9, Scheierl visited the rural Paynesville farm field where Jacob’s remains were discovered so he could pay his respects to the boy he will be connected with forever.
Scheierl explained, "It's like a funeral in a sense. I have been to a lot of funerals. It's the grieving process to go through that allows for closure. That was one step like bury anyone you have a deep connection with."
Scheierl tells Fox 9, he is looking forward to reading a victim impact statement and speaking directly to his attacker, Danny Heinrich, at his November sentencing.
He also hopes to work with victims of sexual assault in the future to help them cope with their fears, shame and embarrassment.