TIME Crime

Minnesota Man Confesses to Killing 11-Year-Old Jacob Wetterling in 1989

Danny Heinrich, of Minnesota, appeared in federal court on Sept. 6, 2016, in a child pornography case.
Sherburne County Sheriff's Office—AP Danny Heinrich, of Minnesota, appeared in federal court on Sept. 6, 2016, in a child pornography case.

When he was kidnapped, the boy asked: “What did I do wrong?”

A Minnesota man on Tuesday revealed how he kidnapped and killed an 11-year-old boy before burying his body—tragic answers the victim’s family has been waiting for since the 1989 cold case first shook the state.

Danny Heinrich confessed in court to murdering Jacob Wetterling, who had asked, “What did I do wrong” when he was taken by Heinrich nearly three decades ago, the Associated Press reports.

Heinrich, 53, last week led authorities to recover the boy’s remains. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in federal court in Minneapolis and detailed how he put on a mask and approached three children with a revolver on Oct. 22, 1989. Heinrich said he grabbed Jacob, handcuffed him, assaulted him in a grove of trees before shooting him dead and burying his body, according to the AP.

Heinrich won’t face any charges in the boy’s death under a plea deal, but he faces up to 20 years on the child pornography charge, the news agency said. He will be sentenced in November.

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