On September 6, 2016, sexual predator Danny Heinrich confessed to kidnapping, sexually abusing, killing and burying Jacob Wetterling 27 years earlier. He would later rebury the child’s remains in the same spot where he himself was molested as an adolescent.
Minnesota, 1989, three young boys under the age of 12 – Jacob Wetterling, his younger brother, and his friend – were riding their bicycles home from a local videotape rental store. Only two of them made it home that day.
Nearly 3 decades later, a mystery is finally solved, but there’s a twist to this nightmare of a story. Danny Heinrich, who confessed to the assault, was sexually assaulted as a young man, by a notorious sexual predator known as Duey or Duane Hart.
“Hart committed hundreds of sexual assaults on at least ten young boys.”
Duane Hart entered Heinrich’s life around the time his parents divorced. Hart, 30, was twice Heinrich’s age when he started dating his mother in the 70’s.
Two of Hart’s victims, Brad Froelich and Dan Garvick claim that Heinrich was also molested in the same spot they were, just outside of Paynesville. The same place where Heinrich would later bury Jacob Wetterling.
“I believe Duane brought Danny here to molest him many times,” said Garvick.
Hart was once a suspect in the Jacob Wetterling case, as well. During an interview with a private detective while in custody, Hart listed Danny Heinrich as one of his many victims.
Jacob Wetterling was brutally murdered but his death did not go in vain. Five years after his abduction, thanks to efforts made by the Wetterling family, the Wetterling Act was passed. It was the first law to institute a state sex-offender registry. Since then, his parents Patty and Jerry Wetterling have dedicated themselves to making the world a safe place for kids.