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Person of Interest in Jacob Wetterling's Abduction Will Appear in Court

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Sherburne County Sheriff's Office/AP

The Minnesota man who allegedly led authorities to the remains of Jacob Wetterling the 11-year-old who vanished 27 years ago, is expected to appear in federal court today as part of an ongoing child pornography case, PEOPLE confirms.

Danny Heinrich, 52, is scheduled to appear for a status conference in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis at 1 p.m. CST, according to court records.

Heinrich was arrested by federal authorities nearly a year ago on more than 20 child pornography possession counts.

He has also been named a person of interest in the 1989 abduction and subsequent murder of Wetterling, whose skeletal remains were found at a Paynesville, Minnesota, farm last week.

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Wetterling was allegedly grabbed by a masked man with a gun on October 22, 1989, while riding his bicycle with his brother and a friend near his St. Joseph, Minnesota, home.

He was never seen alive again, and authorities have spent the better part of the last three decades investigating thousands of tips, leads and clues.

No one – not even Heinrich – has ever faced criminal charges connected to Wetterling’s kidnapping.

Police say Heinrich helped lead authorities to Wetterling’s grave last week.

According to investigators, DNA links Heinrich to the sexual assault of a boy just nine months before Wetterling vanished.

Heinrich was questioned by authorities shortly after Wetterling disappeared, but he has long denied any involvement in the child’s abduction.

Wetterling’s case sparked national outrage and inspired legislation designed to better protect children that imposes harsher penalties for those convicted of sex crimes.

Wetterling’s mother said in a Facebook post Monday that “everyone wants to know what they can do to help us.”

Her suggestion? “Say a prayer. Light a candle. Be with friends. Play with your children. Giggle. Hold hands. Eat ice cream. Create joy. Help your neighbor.”