Never miss a story: Get the FOX 61 app for breaking news alerts

Minnesota authorities: Remains found of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling who was abducted in 1989

wetterling

MINNEAPOLIS – Authorities in central Minnesota say the remains of Jacob Wetterling have been found.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office says in a statement that Jacob’s remains were identified on Saturday.

Jacob was 11 when he was kidnapped from a rural road on Oct. 22, 1989, near his home in St. Joseph, about 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis. No one has been arrested or charged in his abduction, though authorities named 53-year-old Danny Heinrich as a person of interest last year.

Heinrich was charged with multiple counts of child pornography, but was not charged in Jacob’s abduction. He has denied involvement.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that Heinrich took authorities to a field in central Minnesota last week. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing case, said remains and other evidence were found.

Here is a timeline of events related to the abduction:

Oct. 22, 1989: Jacob Wetterling, 11, is abducted from a rural road as he rode bikes with his brother and a friend by a masked gunman near his home about 80 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Oct. 26, 1989: Deputies on horseback and hundreds of people search for Jacob, but find nothing.

Oct. 29, 1989: About 225 National Guard troops and 80 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources workers unsuccessfully search for clues. Supporters of the boy’s family release more than 1,000 white balloons after a church service.

December 1989: Investigators are deluged with tips after they release a new sketch of a suspect. Authorities also say they believe the man who kidnapped Jacob was responsible for the January 1989 abduction and sexual assault of a boy in nearby Cold Spring.

1990: Jacob’s parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, set up the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, which works to help communities and families prevent child exploitation. Patty Wetterling becomes a national advocate for missing children.

October 1990: An FBI spokesman says about 2,000 people have been interviewed. More than 700 people attend an anniversary vigil less than two miles from where Jacob was taken.

1994: Congress passes the Jacob Wetterling Act, legislation for a sex offender registry.

2004: Patty Wetterling runs as a Democrat against Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy in Minnesota’s 6th District. She loses by 30,000 votes in her first political campaign but does not rule out a future run.

2006: Patty Wetterling again runs for Congress but loses to Republican Michele Bachmann.

2010: Investigators spend two days searching and digging at a farm near where Jacob Wetterling was last seen. The sheriff later says forensic tests on items taken from the farm show no link to the crime.

Oct. 29, 2015: Federal authorities say a Minnesota man is a “person of interest.” Danny Heinrich, of Annandale, is arrested on unrelated child pornography charges. Heinrich denies involvement in Jacob’s disappearance and has not been charged in the case.

Sept. 3, 2016: Authorities confirm that Jacob’s remains have been found and positively identified. Additional DNA testing will be conducted.