Wetterling's remains found: 'Our hearts are broken'

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The remains of Jacob Wetterling have been found, according to his mother, Patty. 

Patty Wetterling told KARE 11's Caroline Lowe via text Saturday morning, "All I can confirm is that Jacob has been found and our hearts are broken. I am not responding to any media yet as I have no words.” 

Authorities have not yet confirmed if Jacob Wetterling's remains have been found or if new information has been revealed in the case.  

Patty Wetterling took to Twitter Saturday afternoon saying, "Our family is drawing strength from all your love & support."

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center released a statement on its Facebook page saying, "We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way ... Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way. We are, and we will continue to be, Jacob’s Hope." 

Wetterling disappeared in October of 1989 after he was on a bike ride home from a convenience store. Wetterling, who was 11 years old at the time, was kidnapped by a masked man who approached him, his brother and a friend on a rural Stearns County road. The man threatened the other two boys and told them to run into the woods and never look back. 

RELATED:  Timeline of events in Jacob Wetterling abduction

Despite an intensive investigation and non-stop efforts by Patty Wetterling and her husband Jerry to keep Jacob's case in the public eye, he has never been found -- until this possible development. 

Authorities arrested 53-year-old Danny Heinrich of Annandale last fall, and declared him a "person of interest" in the Wetterling abduction. They recovered books of child pornography, and a DNA sample tying Heinrich to the kidnapping and sexual assault of another Stearns County boy from the same time period of Jacob's abduction. No charges can be filed in that case, however, as the statute of limitations has passed. 

PHOTOS: Jacob Wetterling search photos

David Heinrich, Danny's brother, told Lowe that he learned about Wetterling's story Saturday morning.  

"I want the Wetterlings to know I had no idea," a very emotional David Heinrich said to Lowe. "My prayers are with them. I am happy for them that they know, not that he’s passed, but at least they have closure."

Danny Heinrich remains incarcerated, awaiting trial next month on child pornography charges. 

Last October DNA evidence conclusively linked Danny Heinrich to a January 1989 abduction and assault on Jared Scheierl. All along, investigators have believed the Wetterling and Scheierl abduction cases may be linked.

Saturday morning, Scheierl told KARE 11's Karla Hult, "My heart goes out to the Wetterling family in all of this.”

Authorities are not saying anything in this case. KARE 11 is working to gather more information and will update as soon as it is available. 

RELATED:  Patty Wetterling writes to Jacob on birthday

(© 2016 KARE)


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