The kidnapper of an 11-year-old boy called Jacob Wetterling, whose remains were unearthed last week, finally confessed to his crime after 27 years. Along with the confession, Danny James Heinrich described the boy’s last hours in precise detail.
Heinrich told Minnesota judges that he recalls Wetterling kept asking him while being abducted “What did I do wrong?” The 53-year-old man also provided details on the sexual assault and killing of the boy.
He also confessed to another attack he performed on a boy that has survived. Heinrich agreed to admit to his crimes under a plea deal he had reached with the prosecution earlier last month. As part of the deal, Heinrich led federal and state investigators to the place he buried Jacob 27 years ago. Authorities announced they found the boy’s remains on Saturday.
The defendant told prosecution that Jacob began to weep when he told him that he won’t drive him home. But after hearing a police patrol vehicle, the man panicked and shot the boy. He then buried him in a place he showed authorities last week.
Jacob’s Mom Hoped for ‘Different Result’
Jacob’s parents who haven’t lost hope in finding the boy said Saturday that they were “heartbroken.” The boy’s mother said in a recent press conference that she found the truth she had sought for 27 years.
“It is incredibly painful to know his last days, his last hours and his last minutes,”
the mother told reporters after the hearing.
She explained that for her and her family the boy was not dead until the police found him. She also added that she wished for “a different result” but she is content that she got at least the cold, hard truth. By “a different result” she was referring to the terms of the plea. Minnesota authorities promised Heinrich that he won’t be prosecuted for the boy’s death if he confesses and shows them the remains.
This way, prosecution ensured that they have a confirmation for the boy’s death and a full confession from his murderer. Heinrich, instead, will serve 20 years in prison for charges of child pornography possession in a separate trial.
In an emotional speech, Patty Wetterling said that on Oct. 22, 1989, Heinrich “stole our innocence,” but now he is finally brought to justice.
Jacob Kidnapped from Safe Place
Jacob’s abduction is all the more disturbing as he has been kidnapped from a safe place. The boy was riding his bicycle to a movie rental store along with his older brother and a friend when a masked man pulled a car over.
The man abducted Jacob at gunpoint and told the other boys to flee and don’t look back or else he would shoot them. The abduction occurred on a dimly-lit stretch of the road. Reportedly, Heinrich told the boys to turn off the flashlight before questioning them on their ages.
The two boys said that when they looked back from a safe distance they saw the man and Jacob were gone. Despite countless searches and false leads, the boy was not found. Investigators, however, believed that Jacob’s abductor was the same person who kidnapped and assaulted a 12-year-old boy 9 months before Jacob. That boy had survived.
Image Source: missingkids.com