(KMSP) - Aaron Larson, who was there when his best friend Jacob Wetterling was abducted on October 22, 1989, absolutely believes his memories from that terrifying night could help give today’s investigators a missing piece to the puzzle of Wetterling’s disappearance.
Last week, the FBI named 52-year-old Danny Heinrich a person of interest in Wetterling’s disappearance.
Larson has not spoken to case investigators in years. He says no one with law enforcement reached out before last week's bombshell announcement about Heinrich.
Larson and Wetterling’s brother were the last people to see Jacob when the trio was threatened at gunpoint by a man in a mask while riding their bikes along a road in St. Joseph. Larson and Wetterling’s brother left their bikes behind as they were forced to turn and run.
Larson, now 37, says he will never forget the suspect's voice and wants so desperately to hear Heinrich talk.
“Yeah, I would like to hear his voice. It's tough. 26 years now. When you get into the legal aspect of voice recognition, you are talking a whole different ballgame, but also there is a gut feeling,” Larson says.
Aaron admits he was stunned to read about Heinrich’s shoe prints and tire tracks that appeared to be spot on matches to evidence gathered at the scene of the abduction.
Larson says he’s frustrated that in a prior era, Heinrich was not detained and pushed harder by investigators, especially given the unsolved Paynesville assault cluster targeting young boys within blocks of Heinrich’s apartment at the time.
“It's one of those things that you get some answers, but you don't want to get your hopes up too much,” Larson says. “We don't have all the answers yet. The biggest thing is ‘Where is Jacob?’ Obviously we all want to know what [Heinrich] can offer."