A statement of support

What a day.

So, by now you know that a new “person of interest” has been named in Jacob’s case after he was arrested on several counts of child pornography. U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton, MN BCA Superintendent Drew Evans, and Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner held a joint press conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis today. By all accounts, it was a stunner.

There is now DNA evidence that proves Danny James Heinrich is the one who kidnapped and assaulted 12-year-old Jared from Cold Spring on January 13, 1989. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has expired on Jared’s case, so Heinrich can no longer be prosecuted on those charges. (Thank goodness those laws have since changed.)

There is also evidence that links Heinrich to the crime scene where Jacob was abducted. Tire tracks and shoe prints in the driveway match the car and shoes owned by Heinrich at the time of Jacob’s disappearance.

And then there are the Paynesville incidents that took place between 1986-1989. Heinrich lived in Paynesville at the time and may also be linked to those cases.

This is still a very active investigation, so for those who have questioned why I removed all my “Jacob posts” in the past few weeks, now you know why. Jared had asked me to remove any posts or comments related to his case, but I was afraid of raising suspicion, so I just took them all down. I will try and put some back up in the upcoming days or weeks, but for now, I’m laying low.

Truth be told, it has taken me the better part of a day to just “get a grip.” I am so happy and grateful for Jared. He finally has his answers, which he has worked so bravely and diligently to find. He is a good person… a kind person… and he deserves every bit of recognition for helping to solve his case.

On the other side of the coin, I am so overwhelmed with emotion for the Wetterlings. If this is it… if this is the answer… then where is Jacob? What happened to that poor child? Clearly there is no happy ending here, and those thoughts just about undo me.

Time and love

“She knew the answers would come with time and love.”

I have a print in my office that says, “She knew the answers would come with time and love.” I wish this for the Wetterlings tonight. Certainly it is time. And most certainly, there is love. All we need now are answers.

Sending prayers and positive thoughts out to the universe tonight. As always, thanks for #ThinkingJacob with me.

NEXT: Wow. What to say…

76 Comments

  1. There are no words. Endless gratitude to you, Joy.

  2. It sickens me that there’s a statue of limitation it’s unbelievable that they would do This

  3. Thank you for keeping these cases alive and commented on. I hope all the cases will now be solved.

  4. I knew there had to be a reason why. I didn’t believe you gave up on your search. I prayed so hard that there was news and that would be the reason. God is good!

  5. Thank you for your informative blog. It encouraged me to keep Jacob fresh in my mind. I have always thought it was the same person who assaulted Jared, did the Paynesville assaults, and abducted Jacob. Let’s pray the Wetterlings have closure soon.

  6. The shoes imprints look very compelling, but didn’t Jacob’s brother and friend say that the man who abducted them wore black boots?

  7. Wow! Could this really be it? So weird. All this time thinking maybe it was this guy or maybe it was that guy. I have personally never even heard of this man they have in custody. Has anyone else? This gives me hope again that maybe law enforcement really does have this case more under control than we thought. For a while there, I was frustrated.

    Such a shame they can’t prosecute him for his assault on Jared. But I’m happy that Jared finally has his answer. I really think “The Hunt” and Joy and Jared have helped keep this case alive and kept the public involved in helping. And Joy, not only has your blog brought lots of important information, but it’s also brought people together in prayers and hope. And prayers and hope are very powerful. And Jared, you’re a brave man! You should be very proud of yourself!

  8. I don’t go outside my circle unless the person or their contribution is of such magnitude that it aboslutely needs to be pointed out how we should all act and what is important in life.
    You are that person Joy. I don’t know you, but after reading the news reports I kept asking myself, what would have happened WITHOUT this woman. My guess is nothing.
    And for that reason I felt compelled to thank you. Thank you for being someone who cared. Thank you for remembering. Thank you for being a great human being and an example for everyone.

    I don’t think most people are looking at the width and depth of the damage this animal has caused to us all. The victims, the families and friends and to us all as a community. Knowing we can capture him and remove him from our midst is a healthy thing for all of us.
    Knowing there will never be a sufficent amount of punishment to ever make him pay for his crimes is just something we all have to live with.
    Thank You Again, Joy

  9. Agreed, Mike. We can all be grateful for Joy’s tenacity. Why don’t we all ask people on FB or wherever we post to read this site? I am.

  10. So true, Mike!! And we are still disgusted that we as parents around the New London area were never warned or heard a thing that was going on in Paynesville!!

  11. Mark Anderson |

    Reading the indictment provides many answers readers have wondered about, but many remain: Heinrich was a suspect early on in Jared’s case as well as Jacob’s. What led police to identify him as a suspect in Jared’s case? Was he considrered early on a suspect in the Paynesville assaults? If not, why not?
    The tire and shoe prints of Heinrichs left at the scene of Jacob’s abuction were very damning even if not sufficient to bring charges. Authorities must have felt Heinrich was Jacob’s abductor so why then did they go after Daniel Rassier so strongly going so far as to dig up his yard. Did Rassier know Heinrich?

  12. The entire search warrant of Heinrich’s home with very detailed history of Jared’s assault, description of what led authorities to suspect Danny Heinrich’s involvement, and their knowledge of Paynesville incidents is in this article:

    http://heavy.com/news/2015/10/danny-james-heinrich-jacob-wetterling-arrest-suspect-missing-family-facebook/

    It was very interesting to read the descriptions/accounts of the two separate vehicles Heinrich owned at the times of Jared and Jacob’s abductions. The former fits Jared’s description, the latter fits what Dan Rassier describes as the second car that came down his driveway the night of Jacob’s abduction.

    One other thing that interested me was how Dan Rassier described someone in the passenger seat of the second vehicle that night. The woman or child was looking out the window with his/her hands cupped over their eyes. In the search warrant description of Jared’s abduction, Jared was instructed to cover his own eyes with his stocking cap while in the vehicle.

  13. I heard that Rassier made a comment to someone that maybe they buried Jacob in his gravel pit or dump that was located on his property. I’m thinking thats what prompted the digging by authorities. I feel very badly for Rassier, it looks to me that the only thing he did wrong was living right where some sob was stalking Jacob

  14. I wonder if Dan has look at what a ford exp looks like ,does it match the car he seen turn around near his house ,do the colors match? I don’t think the exp had a hatch back but could maybe be mistaken for one
    it isn’t impossible that that car still be out there , on or off the road

  15. I guess some exp models did have a hatch back

  16. Mark A – agreed, something is amiss. CCO story states that the Paynesville investigator contacted the Wetterling’s investigator back in 1990…I get we didn’t have a thriving internet back then, but in communities not far form each other, and using some of the same resources I can’t for the life of me understand why these dots weren’t connected sooner….I still say something stinks to h*** in all of these cases.

  17. Ellen Hubbard |

    I just went back to Joy’s Feb 23, 2013 post with Dan Rassier’s account of the night Jacob was abducted, and reviewed the part where Dan talks about seeing a second vehicle pull into his driveway. This citing took place after Dan returned from his jog, after dark. He is sure that the car which pulled into his driveway was small and dark in color, possibly blue or black. He is less sure about perhaps seeing a passenger — a woman or a child — with his or her hands covering his/her eyes. According to Dan’s account, he went to bed shortly after seeing this car, around 10 pm. Jacob was taken at 9:15 pm.

    The Star Tribune has some photos pertaining to the person of interest and there’s a photo of a small, blue vehicle. Here’s the link: http://www.startribune.com/what-we-know-about-danny-james-heinrich/338508931/#8

    Dan’s story and the photos of the bastard’s car makes one wonder whether perhaps Dan unwittingly saw Jacob in the moments after the abduction.

  18. According to Mn Arrest Records, Danny James Heinrich was charged with Illegal Radio Equipment and 5th Degree Assault, on 10/1/1986, (both dismissed).

  19. Since Danny Heinrich lived with his dad (who died in 2002), it would be interesting to see what kind of car he drove. Maybe some of Danny and his father’s neighbors may recall. Could that be the car Dan Rassier saw earlier? What did Danny’s father do in 1998. It also appears Danny has 2 brothers and a sister but no mention of his mother. There is so much more to the story, but it sure does seem like the police missed a lot of information.

  20. Do you know what’s been done with that blue car (Heinrich’s )? To get more evidence?

  21. Donavon Mickelson |

    Mona; I agree with you and also with you Mark.

  22. I’ve been thinking…IF Danny is Jacobs abductor- and we now know he was the one who sexually assaulted Jared a question we all have asked is why wasn’t Jacob let go? And if it was Danny that was involved in the other attacks around that time why weren’t those kids taken? So I was wondering… Danny had binders of pornographic images of boys and videos of young boys that seemed to be home videos he made himself while hiding and he did kidnap and sexually assault Jared. Do you think maybe Danny got to a point where spying in the bushes, looking at pictures, and letting his victims go was just not enough to ‘satisfy’ him? Kind of like how with alcohol you eventually build up a tolerance and need more to get the same effect.

  23. Ellen I wondered the same thing and I think I read in here somewhere that Jared was told to cover his eyes buy his abductor
    I have a feeling that this suspect is going to confess to the abduction but say he let Jacob go like he did Jared

  24. I agree with what many others have said here… Joy & Jared should feel incredibly proud. I do not think this would have happened without either of them. You both breathed new life into this case. Its amazing. I’ve lived with this haunting story in the back of my mind my entire life practically. I was 7 years old when this happened. I honestly thought it would never be solved. It is very clear to me that this is the right guy. I read the entire affidavit for the search warrant and I have no doubt in my mind it was him. Now can a tip from someone help bring Jacob home? Or can we get this creep to confess and tell us where he is? I am hoping one of those 2 scenarios will happen soon, so the Wetterlings and all of central Minnesota will finally have some peace of mind. I anxiously wait…

  25. Donavon Mickelson |

    Leslie; you are right. Many times smaller crimes lead to bigger crimes, even window peepers, who were once thought to be harmless will become more aggressive as time goes on and they may end up kidnapping and killing their victims. I hope that Law Enforcement adds to this blog the many things kids are supposed to do if confronted by someone like this, including running, hitting, yelling, screaming and all in an attempt to get the publics attention and scare off the abductor. NEVER go with anyone because of the threat of a gun or a knife since you won’t be seen again.

  26. Leslie… I think the reason Jacob let go was because Danny became sicker over time. I mean groping kids and assaulting them eventually led to taking them in his car and scaring them and then to taking them and not letting them go… in Jacob’s case. He became extremely sick and delusional is my best guess. Even to this day its possible that he is so delusioned and doesn’t even know or not if he took Jacob.

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