Danny Heinrich is an American pedophile who is best known for kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and murdering 11-year old Jacob Wetterling on October 22, 1989. Wetterling's fate remained unknown for nearly three decades until Heinrich confessed to the crime in September 2016.
Heinrich kidnapped Jared Scheierl in Cold Springs, Minnesota, in 1989. Scheirl was sexually assaulted but escaped with his life.
The second victim was Jacob Wetterling, 11, who was cycling home from a shop in St Joseph, Minnesota with his brother Trevor and friend Aaron Larson on October 22nd, 1989. Heinrich kidnapped Wetterling at gunpoint, later killing him and burying the body in Paynesville, Minnesota.
The attacks remained unsolved for 27 years. Heinrich was ultimately arrested by the FBI in a child pornography investigation. In August 2016 he led authorities to Wetterling's body as part of his plea deal.
Heinrich claimed remorse, stating he spent the time since the murder thinking about the victim and attempting to find a way to anonymously give up the body's location. He lived in Paynesville and was a suspect, so he felt he would inevitably be caught if he did so. Heinrich further claimed he did not want his family to suffer by his imprisonment.
He further claimed to have himself suffered sexual abuse as a child, to have had a difficult upbringing, and to have suffered a head injury as a child.
Heinrich is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, in Harvard, Massachusetts.