DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – For 27 years, Jared Scheierl has searched for answers – for himself and a boy he never met.
On Friday, Jared finally found his answers with the news Jacob Wetterling had been found.
“Twenty seven years later, here I am, looking at my 12-year-old boy. And tears of joy. Tears of sadness at the same time. It’s hard to put into words exactly what and how I was feeling,” Jared told KARE 11 on Saturday.
In January 1989, Scheierl – then 12 himself – was abducted and assaulted by a man in Cold Spring. Nine months later, a man abducted 11-year-old Wetterling near his home in St. Joseph. He was never seen again. Authorities long ago linked the two cases, given the similarity in crimes and suspect descriptions.
Last October, state and federal authorities announced Danny Heinrich, now 53, was a “person of interest” in the Jacob Wetterling investigation. This, after authorities say DNA conclusively linked Heinrich to Scheierl’s assault. Still, Heinrich continued to deny any involvement in the Wetterling case.
But this weekend, sources confirm to KARE 11, Heinrich led authorities to Wetterling’s remains.
“When it comes down to it, despite some of the criticism I’ve heard pertaining to law enforcement, they are the true heroes in all of this,” Scheierl said.
But Scheierl has himself turned into a hero in this narrative, given his years-long quest for answers for him and the Wetterling family.
“It motivated me to go in this direction. It helped me to recognize and deal with certain things in my own life. Find my own strength. Overcome my own fears. And contribute and helping others find answers,” Scheierl said.
But Scheierl admits, he’d always hoped the final answer would be different.
“My heart goes out to them,” Scheierl said, adding, “It’s beginning something that was long-awaited.”
Heinrich has not been charged in the Wetterling case. He continues to face federal charges related to child pornography, to which he’s pleaded not guilty.