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COPY-Authorities: Annandale man 'person of interest' in disappearance of Jacob Wetterling


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Federal authorities say a Minnesota man is a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, whose mother became a national advocate for the cause of missing children after his abduction in 1989.

They made the announcement at a news conference Thursday. A 52-year-old Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday on several child pornography charges.

An application for a search warrant in that case says that authorities wanted to search for items including human remains, a red T-shirt with the name Wetterling on the back and a red hockey team jacket with the name Jacob stitched on the front.

The search was carried out July 28.

Wetterling was 11 when he was abducted Oct. 22, 1989, near his home in the central Minnesota community of St. Joseph.


Stearns County, Minn. (WQOW) - U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said, Thursday in a press conference, that an Annadale man has been charged with possessing child pornography and is considered a person of interest in the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling.

Wetterling disappeared in October of 1989 while riding bikes with his brother and a friend in St. Joseph, Minn.

Daniel Heinrich has not been charged in the disappearance of Wetterling, but with possession of child pornography. Luger said during the conference that DNA was found linking Heinrich to a sexual assault in Cold Spring, Minn. in 1989, but authorities said charges cannot be filed because the statute of limitations has run out. FBI Agent Richard Thorton said he considers Heinrich a person of interest in the Wetterling case, but Heinrich denied any involvement in an interview with authorities. 

Luger said 19 three-ring binders of naked children and videos of children doing daily routines were found in Heinrich's possession. 

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said in the press conference that this is not the first time authorities have investigated Heinrich's behavior in regard to Wetterling's disappearance. FBI Agent Thorton said Wetterling's photo was not among images found in Heinrich's home. 

Authorities are asking anyone with any information about Heinrich's activities to come forward. To see the full complaint, click here

The Wetterling family released the following statement (obtained from KSTP):

"The Wetterling family would like to thank all involved in the investigation of Danny Heinrich and his crimes against children. The search for Jacob Wetterling is an ongoing investigation and we will watch and learn with everyone else. Right now we know what is being reported. We know what you all know.

For 26 long years, we have said that somebody knows something. If you know anything about this man, his ties to St. Joseph in 1989 and his victimization of children or since, please call the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department at 320-259-3700 or 320-656-6625.

We also need to point out the obvious. Child pornography is devastating, harmful criminal activity. If you know of anyone who is engaged in looking at, producing or sharing child pornography please call the police or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-THE-LOST) so that these people do not harm another child.

We are so grateful for the prayers, the support and the Hope shared in our search for Jacob and the search for answers. Who took Jacob? Where is he? What happened?

Today we ask for a little time. We will be available for comment next week but ask for some space at this point in time. We have no further comment."

With hope,

Parry and Jerry Wetterling


(WQOW) - A news conference to announce criminal charges in the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling is scheduled for 2 p.m. today, according to ABC-affiliate KSTP in the Twin Cities. 

Wetterling disappeared in October of 1989 while riding bikes with his brother and a friend in St. Joseph, Minn.

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