True Crime Blogger’s Hidden Investigation Leads to Shocking Arrest!

The 27-year-old cold case of Jacob Wetterling’s abduction finally found resolution, thanks to the dedicated efforts of a true crime blogger and the unwavering determination of Jacob’s mother, Patty Wetterling. The incredible story of their friendship and the eventual breakthrough in the case is detailed in a new book titled “Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope,” released on October 17.

The tragic saga began in 1989 when 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike home with his brother and a friend in St. Joseph, Minnesota. A masked man wielding a revolver forced the boys to lie in a ditch, questioned them about their ages, and ordered the other two to run into the woods. Jacob and the assailant vanished without a trace, leaving his family devastated and clinging to hope for his return.


Over the years, Patty Wetterling channeled her grief into advocacy, tirelessly promoting awareness about missing children and child exploitation. Her efforts culminated in the passage of the Jacob Wetterling Act in 1994, which established a national sex offender registry.

Despite numerous leads and countless hours of investigation, the case seemed unsolvable. However, a glimmer of hope emerged in 2010 when Joy Baker, a part-time blogger and mother of two teenage boys, began writing about Jacob’s case. Baker’s interest in the case was piqued when she connected with Jared Scheierl, who, like Jacob, had suffered an abduction and molestation at the age of 12. Convinced there was a connection, Baker initiated her own investigation, meticulously researching microfilm archives of a local newspaper in Paynesville, Minnesota.

Patty Wetterling: Photo: Andrea Ellen Reed

As Baker uncovered reports from the late 1980s of children who had been stalked and threatened by a masked gunman in the region, her persistence caught the attention of law enforcement. Even Patty Wetterling, initially skeptical of a blogger’s involvement, soon realized the unique questions Baker was asking.

The Wetterling family in 1988. From top left, Jerry, Patty and Amy. From bottom left, Carmen, Trevor and Jacob. COURTESY MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY PRESS

In 2015, the state’s crime lab re-examined the clothing worn by Scheierl during his assault, ultimately linking the DNA found to a man named Danny Heinrich. In a 2016 plea agreement, Heinrich confessed to abducting, molesting, and tragically, killing Jacob. He received a 20-year prison sentence, offering some closure to a case that had haunted a nation for nearly three decades.

Jacob Wetterling’s killer Danny Heinrich sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Patty Wetterling, while grappling with the devastating truth about her son’s fate, expressed profound gratitude for Joy Baker’s relentless work. Baker’s determination had transformed her from an unknown blogger to one of Patty’s closest friends, who played an instrumental role in bringing her son’s abductor to justice. The heart-wrenching journey, chronicled in “Dear Jacob,” stands as a testament to the unyielding spirit of a mother and the power of community-driven efforts in the pursuit of justice.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here