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Aug. 28, 2009: Jerry and Patty Wetterling show a photo of their son Jacob, who was abducted in October 1989 in St. Joseph, Minn.

Craig Lassig, Associated Press

Investigators look at possible Wetterling link to other cases

  • Associated Press
  • May 14, 2014 - 7:13 PM

PAYNESVILLE, Minn. — Investigators are taking a new look into whether the abduction of Jacob Wetterling nearly 25 years ago may be linked to similar cases in central Minnesota, a sheriff said Wednesday.

Jacob was 11 when he was abducted by a masked gunman near his St. Joseph home in October 1989. He was riding his bicycle with his brother and a friend when he was taken. Jacob has not been seen since, and the case remains open.

Stearns County investigators are now taking a closer look at several stranger assaults that took place in Paynesville in 1986 and 1987, KARE-TV reported. There were at least five assaults and the victims were all teenage boys. One of the boys was grabbed off his bicycle.

Sheriff John Sanner told The Associated Press that investigators assigned to the Wetterling abduction compared similarities with the Paynesville cases 25 years ago. Sanner said he can't discuss details of an active investigation, but said officials have been taking a new look at these similarities for about six months.

Not all of the Paynesville victims spoke to police after Jacob's disappearance and investigators 25 years ago may not have made the same connections they might today, KARE reported.

Investigators already have re-interviewed some of the victims, KMSP-TV reported.

© 2014 Star Tribune