MINNEAPOLIS — Danny James Heinrich, the child pornography suspect who led police to the remains of Jacob Wetterling, admitted in court Tuesday that he killed the 11-year-old Minnesota boy who disappeared 27 years ago, CNN affiliate WCCO reported.
Heinrich, who is pleading to a charge of being in receipt of child porn, will apparently escape any state charges in the boy’s death and faces between five and 20 years in prison, WCCO said. The judge said there would be no state prosecutions for crimes committed in 1989, the television station reported.
Heinrich confirms he acted alone in the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of the boy.
The abduction of the 11-year-old boy led to the federal 1994 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which requires states to maintain sex offender registries and guidelines.
Jacob disappeared on a dark road in central Minnesota on the night of October 22, 1989.
He had been at home with his two younger siblings, Trevor, 10, and Carmen, 8, and Jacob’s friend Aaron Larsen, 11, while his parents Patty and Jerry Wetterling attended a dinner party about 20 minutes away.
Wetterling, who lived in rural St. Joseph, his brother and a friend were coming home from a convenience store on bikes and a scooter when a man wearing a stocking mask and holding a gun approached.
The man asked the boys their ages, grabbed Jacob and told the others to run into the woods or else he’d shoot, Jacob’s father has said, recounting what his other son told police.
The case garnered worldwide attention and was recently featured on the CNN series “The Hunt with John Walsh.”
WCCO reporter Nina Moini was in the court room reporting by social media the stunning details of Heinrich’s confession