The Jacob Wetterling case was an almost 3-decade-long child abduction investigation that captivated, terrified, and confused Minnesotans and people around the entire United States.
The case was solved in September of 2016, when Heinrich, as part of a plea-bargain, confessed to Jacob’s murder and agreed to disclose the location of Jacob Wetterling’s body. If he hadn’t, Jacob may still be considered a missing person, for month, years, even decades longer. Danny Heinrich was sentenced to just 20 years, because his plea-agreement allowed him to NOT be charged with Jacob Wetterling’s murder. He was, instead, charged with just one count of the 25 federal child pornography charges brought against him, and given the maximum sentence for that single charge. After knowing the background of the investigation, some believe it was a case that could have been solved in one night. So, why did it take law enforcement so long to solve the case? What went wrong?