What’s known about Danny James Heinrich
• Danny James Heinrich, 53, of Annandale, Minn., a lead suspect in Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance, reportedly led authorities in recent days to human remains confirmed as those of the 11-year-old boy.
• Jacob was taken on the evening of Oct. 22, 1989, while riding his bike home with his brother and best friend. A masked man with a gun intercepted the boys, then ordered the brother and friend to run to the woods, warning them not to look back. When they did, Jacob and the masked man were gone.
• Heinrich, who lived 30 minutes away in Paynesville at the time, was interviewed. He denied any involvement.
• Before and after Jacob was taken, Paynesville was hit by a series of attacks on young boys. Boys reported being chased, grabbed and groped by a short, pudgy white male in his 30s who hid his face and rasped out warnings — a description eerily similar to that of the man who took Jacob. Heinrich stood 5 foot 5, weighed 160 pounds and was in his late 20s.
• In February 1990, Heinrich was arrested in an assault in nearby Cold Spring, which involved a juvenile male identified in documents as “JNS.” He said he was innocent and was released without charges.
• After deciding to take a fresh look at the Wetterling case in 2015, authorities tested body hair samples provided by Heinrich to the FBI in 1990. His profile matched hair samples on the boy sexually assaulted in Cold Spring in January 1989. While investigators made a link, Heinrich could not be charged because the statute of limitations had expired.
• Heinrich’s home was searched July 28, 2015, by Stearns County authorities seeking evidence in both the Wetterling case and the kidnapping and sexual assault of JNS, nine months before Jacob’s disappearance.
• They found nothing to link Heinrich to Jacob. Instead, they found 19 three-ring binders containing 100 images of child pornography, according to the criminal complaint. Heinrich was indicted on 25 child pornography charges in U.S. District Court.
• His trial on those charges had been scheduled for Oct. 11. It is unclear if trial will proceed on that date or be delayed due to developments in the Wetterling case.
STAR TRIBUNE STAFF REPORTS