Danny Heinrich Admits To Killing Jacob Wetterling, Describes Horrific Killing In Agonizing Detail


Danny Heinrich, the person who the police suspected to be behind the disappearance and subsequent killing of Jacob Wetterling 27 years ago, on Tuesday confessed to abducting and killing the boy, the Chicago Tribune reports. Heinrich, who was a “person of interest” in the case for a long time, made the admission in a courtroom on Tuesday afternoon where he, in agonizing detail, described the incidents that took place in October 1989 which eventually led to the death of Jacob Wetterling. The remains of Jacob were only recently found thereby ending more than 27 years of speculation over the fate of the boy. There were several reports earlier that it was Heinrich who had led the police to the site where he had dumped Jacob Wetterling’s body more than 27 years ago.

According to police records, Jacob Wetterling was out biking with his brother and another boy in St. Joseph, Minnesota, when a masked man approached them on Sunday, Oct. 22, 1989. In the courtroom, Heinrich described the incident even as the family members of Jacob Wetterling listened in agony.

Patty and Jerry Wetterling
Patty and Jerry Wetterling show a photo of their son Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted in October of 1989 in St. Joseph, Minnesota [Photo by AP Photo/Craig Lassig]
On the day of the incident, Heinrich said that he was driving on a dead-end road located outside St. Joseph when he saw three young boys on their bikes with a flashlight. Slowing his vehicle, he asked the boys to stop. Later, he told the two other boys to run and forced Jacob into his car and handcuffed him in the front passenger seat. Danny said he had a scanner in his car and for the same reason, he was able to hear the police responding to the abduction of Jacob. Even as search parties passed by, he forced Jacob to duck down. Once he ensured that the police had gone away, he stopped his vehicle near a gravel pit close to a stand of trees. He then forced Jacob out of the vehicle, removed the handcuffs and clothes and molested the boy. Once he was done, a shocked Jacob reportedly told him the following.

“I’m cold.”

Heinrich said he replied, “OK, you can get dressed.”

After this, Jacob begged Heinrich to take him home, to which Heinrich replied that he couldn’t take him all the way home. This answer, Heinrich said, made the boy cry. After Jacob began crying, Heinrich panicked and pulled a revolver out of his pocket. He then went on to describe how he killed the little boy in painful detail.

“I panicked. I pulled the revolver out of my pocket… I loaded it with two rounds. I told Jacob to turn around. I told him I had to go to the bathroom. I raised the revolver to his head. I turned my head and it clicked once. I pulled the trigger again and it went off. Looked back, he was still standing.

“I raised the revolver again and shot him again.”

After shooting Jacob, Danny ran away from the scene — only to return a few hours later to bury Jacob’s body. Danny last week, directed police officials to the site where he had buried the body following which officials were able to exhume the remains of Jacob.

According to the Star Tribune, Heinrich had trouble breathing when he described to the court what happened on the day. He also revealed that he used a Bobcat to dig a hole and bury Jacob. He also attempted to camouflage the area with grass and twigs following which he went away — only to return again at midnight when he noticed that the grave was partially uncovered and Jacob’s jacket was clearly visible outside. Once again, he took the body out of the grave and put it inside a bag which he buried it in the place where police officers eventually found the remains almost three decades later.

Jacob Wetterling friend
Aaron Larson, Jacob Wetterling’s childhood best friend, recalls Wetterling’s abduction at his home in Worthington. [Photo by Adam Hammer/AP Photo]
Danny has also been arrested on charges of child pornography and before he made the confession, there were more than 25 charges of child pornography were charged on him. It is now thought that Danny’s confession regarding the killing of Jacob Wetterling was a part of a deal made by him which allowed Heinrich to cut the number of child pornography charges he faces – from 25 to one. Danny was scheduled to go to trial next month on the charges before he disclosed the location of Jacob’s remains.

If convicted, Danny Heinrich will now face a maximum jail term of 240 months — or 20 years in prison.

[Photo by Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office/AP Photo]

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