‘‘This is a case that science might eventually catch up to.”

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner



Jan. 13, 1989: Jared Scheierl, then 12, is kidnapped and sexually assaulted in Cold Spring, Minn. Scheierl’s clothes were taken into evidence.


Oct. 22, 1989: Jacob Wetterling, 11, is abducted by a masked man on a road near his house in rural St. Joseph, Minn., while returning from a Tom Thumb store with his brother, Trevor, 10, and friend Aaron Larson, 11.


Dec. 16, 1989: Danny Heinrich is interviewed by the FBI. He says he can’t recall where he was on the day Jacob disappeared.


Jan. 12, 1990: Heinrich is re-interviewed by law enforcement. They focus on a pair of gym shoes and car tires. He also volunteers hair samples for testing.


February 9 1990: Heinrich is arrested on probable cause for Scheierl’s kidnapping. He emphatically stated his innocence and invoked his right to an attorney. He was later released without being charged.

July 10, 2015: Heinrich’s DNA is found on Scheierl’s sweatshirt.


July 28, 2015: Investigators searched Heinrich’s Annandale, Minn., home for links to Scheierl, Wetterling and other attacks on boys in Paynesville, where Heinrich lived at the time.


Oct. 28, 2015: Heinrich is arrested on child pornography charges.


Late August 2016: Heinrich’s lawyers reach out to federal officials that an agreement is possible that would include a confession.


Aug. 29-30: Federal and Minnesota officials discuss and meet with the Wetterling family about a possible confession and plea deal and agree to go forward.


Aug. 31: Heinrich led FBI investigators to a farm near Paynesville where Jacob’s red hockey jacket is recovered. “Each of us working on this case stopped in our tracks,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. No other remains were found though.


Sept. 2: Investigators returned to the site where more remains are uncovered, including a T-shirt that said “Wetterling.”

Sept. 6: In a packed federal courtroom in Minneapolis, when asked if on October 22, 1989, he kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Jacob Wetterling, Heinrich said, “Yes, I did.”