ST. JOSEPH, Minn. (KMSP) - Jerry and Patty Wetterling spoke publicly Tuesday afternoon regarding the latest developments in the Jacob Wetterling abduction case.
“This is where it happened," Patty Wetterling said in the driveway of the family's St. Joseph, Minn. home. "We still don’t know who took Jacob. We have as many questions or more as all of you...but the one question we have said for 26 years is, where’s Jacob? Where is Jacob? I really believe that somebody in this community knows. We are really really proud of Jared and all of the victims that came forward in Paynesville. There may be other victims. There may be other stories to share.”
Just days after the FBI officially named 52-year-old Danny Heinrich a person of interest in the 1989 unsolved abduction of Jacob Wetterling, Jacob’s parents conceded they are watching and learning with all of us.
“I refuse to be silenced by this man,” Patty said. “We were caught off guard like all of you. We don’t have the answers yet.”
Investigators first looked at Heinrich shortly after Jacob’s disappearance. His tire tracks and sneaker prints appeared to match those taken from the crime scene just down the road from the Wetterling family home.
But Heinrich was never arrested until last week, months after authorities raided his Annandale, Minn. home, looking for Jacob’s remains and his clothing. Instead, they found reams of child porn. Additionally, DNA linked Heinrich to an unsolved kidnapping and sexual assault of a boy in Cold Spring, Minn. less than a year before Jacob Wetterling disappeared. The 2 cases often believed to be carried out by the same suspect.
“No one plays a more important role than you every day citizens in reporting that little piece of information, when added to other pieces of information, will solve the puzzle and bring Jacob home," Jerry Wetterling said.
Patty and Jerry Wetterling refused to mention Heinrich by name, instead focusing on a positive message of hope -- hope that one day they will know what happened to their little boy, and hope that with proper parenting, future generations will be taught to protect the youngest and most vulnerable in society.