Minnesotans meet Wetterling news with relief, grief

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Jacob was riding his bicycle near his home in the central Minnesota community of St. Joseph with his brother and a friend on October 22, 1989, when a masked gunman abducted him and ordered the other boys to run.

Danny Heinrich, 53, led law enforcement to Jacob Wetterling's remains.

Jacob Wetterling is a boy who disappeared in 1989 at the age of 11; 27 years later, on September 3, his remains were confirmed to have finally been found, although authorities have so far chosen not to disclose how or where the remains were uncovered. On Saturday, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner and a forensic odontologist identified the remains as Wetterling's. "Authorities expect to be in a position to provide more detailed information early next week".

Heinrich was declared a "person of interest" last fall and was found to possess a large collection of child pornography as well as a DNA sample tying him to the abduction and sexual assault of another local boy from the same time period, according to KARE, NBC's Minneapolis affiliate.

A source told WCCO the suspect in the Wetterling case, Danny Heinrich, led the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the remains.

His parents Patty and Jerry founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Centre, which works to help communities and families prevent child exploitation following his abduction. "There are no words".

Jacob was 11 when he was kidnapped by a masked gunman on Sunday, Oct. 22, 1989 in St. Joseph. Jacob, his brother, Trevor, and best friend Aaron Larson had gone there to pick up a movie video.

The man latched on to Jacob Wetterling, then told the other boys to run away and not look back.

The case garnered worldwide attention and was recently featured on the CNN series "The Hunt with John Walsh".

Tens of thousands of tips surfaced in the weeks that followed, but none led to an arrest or, until now, discovery of the boy's remains.

At a news conference last October, U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced that Danny Heinrich was being charged in federal court on multiple counts of possession of child pornography.

As of Sunday, it was unclear what compelled Heinrich - who was first interviewed about Jacob's disappearance shortly after it happened and who had long denied any involvement in the case - to lead authorities to the site.

Hopefully this news brings them some answers, she said.

Because the statute of limitations had expired, he wasn't charged Jared's sex assault.

"Life changed after that very much", said Sandy Stocker, who used to live in Jacob Wetterling's neighborhood.

Jacob would have turned 38 in February. That was the last that anyone saw of the 11-year-old. "He was most known for his sense of fairness".

"Our family is drawing strength from all your love & support", Patricia Wetterling, said on twitter.

Seth Peterson, a 21-year-old student at nearby St. John's University, who works at the food co-op on the main drag, said almost everyone he rang up Saturday talked about the Wetterling case: "Did you hear the news this morning?" they asked.