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Man Recounts Abducting, Killing Boy 27 Years Ago

Danny Heinrich confesses to Jacob Wetterling's murder
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2016 2:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – Last week, the parents of a Minnesota boy murdered 27 years ago finally learned the whereabouts of their son's remains. On Tuesday, they learned for sure who killed him. Danny Heinrich, a 53-year-old resident of Annandale, Minn., admitted in court that he kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, reports AP. It was Heinrich who had finally led authorities to Jacob's body, and on Tuesday he recounted the wrenching details of the 1989 abduction, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. While driving on a dead-end street, he came across three boys on their bikes, and forced two of them—Jacob's brother and a friend—to run away. Then he put Jacob in the front seat and handcuffed him. "What did I do wrong?" he said the boy asked.

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Heinrich made Jacob duck down in the seat because he had a police scanner and could hear reports coming in about the abduction. He drove to an area near a gravel pit, molested the boy, then told Jacob he would drive him part of the way home. When Jacob started crying, “I panicked," said Heinrich. "I pulled the revolver out of my pocket. ... I loaded it with two rounds. I told Jacob to turn around,” Heinrich said. He shot the boy twice and left, but returned later to dispose of his body. He actually buried the boy twice—Heinrich said the first location wasn't hidden enough, so he removed the remains and reburied them on a farm. The break in the case came when a review of DNA evidence with new technology linked Heinrich to another old assault. That led to a search warrant and the discovery of child pornography, and Heinrich eventually confessed. (Read more child murder stories.)

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