PAYNESVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Danny James Heinrich, 52, has been named a person of interest in the abduction of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in St. Joseph, Minn. in 1989. But Heinrich says he had nothing to do with the boy’s disappearance, and his older brother, David, told Fox 9 he believes him.
David now lives in the same apartment in Paynesville where his brother, Danny, lived 26 years ago, when Jacob was kidnapped. In a conversation held with Fox 9 through the apartment door, Heinrich’s brother conceded there may be a lot about his brother he may not have known.
But when it comes to Wetterling’s abduction, David is convinced the authorities are looking at the wrong person.
“No way. There's no way. He would never carry a gun or anything like that. He has never had a gun,” Heinrich’s brother said.
David said he last saw his brother on Wednesday, just hours before Danny was arrested on federal child pornography charges.
The apartment building where Danny Heinrich lived in the 1980s, and where his brother lives now, is within a few blocks of several still unsolved attacks on young boys in the years before an armed assailant abducted Wetterling in St. Joseph.
According to a search warrant unsealed this week, DNA has linked Heinrich to a kidnapping and sexual assault in Cold Spring around the same time. Investigators say the suspect's description throughout all of the police reports are consistent, seeming to indicate a single pedophile might be behind all of it.
Heinrich’s brother still does not know what to make of the allegations.
"I don't know what to say. I'm still in shock,” David said. “I believe the pornography because that's straight out. But I don't believe the rest. I can't. I just can't.”