(KMSP) - Bit by bit, the puzzle pieces of Danny Heinrich's life are coming together -- pieces from his neighbors, the cops who were watching him, and those who wonder if he's the man who molested them.
Seven boys were molested in Paynesville in the mid-to-late 1980s. Heinrich was a suspect in those cases and along with being a person of interest in the Wetterling abduction. Additionally, recently released DNA evidence linked him to the sexual assault of Jared Schierel in nearby Cold Spring.
The Fox 9 Investigators have also followed the decades old paper trail. A public records request revealed hundreds of pages of old reports from the Stearns County Sheriff, detailing a couple burglaries, drunk driving, and a troubled juvenile history.
There's one police report that all these years later, sticks out. In April 1991, a year and a half after Jacob Wetterling was abducted, when Heinrich was 28-years-old, a Stearns County deputy was called in to help with surveillance in Paynesville because a tan colored vehicle was "following or watching paperboys on their morning routes."
The deputy soon observed a tan 1984 Buick driven by Danny Heinrich, "at the same time a paper boy was traveling through downtown."
Former FBI agent Al Garber who supervised the bureau's Wetterling investigation, says Heinrich was certainly on their radar.
“We watched that guys for weeks, 24-7, really good surveillance techniques, making us think we could get evidence and we never did,” Garber told Fox 9.
Despite what appeared to be the stalking of paper boys, the deputy didn't pull Heinrich over on that spring day in 1991, claiming he didn't have probable cause. The last line of the report says the information was passed on to another officer for follow up.
Even back then, Heinrich was living under a cloud of suspicion, watching paperboys deliver the news.
In 1990 the Paynesville police chief told the Wetterling investigators the town had a rash of molestations. We asked the now-retired chief for an interview but he declined our requests saying he couldn't remember all the details from all those years ago.