Attorney Joe Tamburino of Minneapolis criminal defense firm Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. recently participated in a news report on Minnesota public radio. The 21-minute report, which aired on October 29, discussed the highest profile child abduction case in the state’s and the nation’s history – the case of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy who was abducted from St. Paul on October 22, 1989. The case has remained unsolved for the past 26 years as the boy has never been found.
Now, however, a person of interest in the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, 52-year old Daniel James Heinrich, has been charged with possession of child pornography and is currently behind held by police.
In a time before “stranger danger” and AMBER Alerts, this case changed the way people in Minnesota and throughout the country raised their children. Five years after Jacob’s disappearance, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sex Offender Registration Act, which requires states to register and track convicted sex offenders for at least 10 years after their release from prison. Failure to register is considered a crime.
When asked why Heinrich has not been charged in connection with the Wetterling case, Attorney Tamburino responded that authorities would need to find a direct link to Wetterling at the time of his disappearance in order for Heinrich to be charged with kidnapping or murder. Although this connection has not been made at this time, Heinrich still faces significant prison time if he is convicted of violating the state’s child pornography statutes.
To listen to the interview online through MPR News and learn more about the case, please click here.