The sentencing of Danny Heinrich on Nov. 21, 2016, brought to a close the 27-year investigation into the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. But it didn't end the story.
Jacob Wetterling's killer was finally sentenced to prison Nov. 21, 2016. Some whose lives he damaged got to stand before a judge and unburden themselves of feelings that had haunted them for 27 years. Danny Heinrich, said Jacob's mother, Patty, "hurt my heart, my soul, and every fiber of my being when he murdered our son Jacob." And Heinrich himself apologized for what he did.
But this story doesn't end.
Even as he briefly tried to explain himself, Heinrich hinted that he may have had other victims.
Dan Rassier, a neighbor long suspected — wrongly — in the abduction and murder, plans to sue the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, the sheriff himself and a state investigator for the way they treated him.
And Jacob's parents wrestle with what comes next. "Because it doesn't close," said his father, Jerry. "We have answers now and that's helpful."
Knowing details in the final minutes of her son's life is hard, Patty Wetterling said, but she wonders whether Heinrich someday might say more. "I'm still struggling with a lot of this," she said, "but I am strengthened by so many good people doing amazingly good things to help out. So that's what carries us and it will continue to help us grow out of this very dark place and to fighting for the world that Jacob knew. I still believe that that's worthy."