- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The parents of an 11-year-old boy who was abducted from a rural central Minnesota road 26 years ago are holding a community meeting in a nearby town that saw its own string of sexual assaults of young boys in the 1980s.

Patty and Jerry Wetterling are holding a meeting Sunday night at the high school in Paynesville. Patty Wetterling said the idea came up as she was listening to victims of the sexual assaults in Paynesville come forward after details of their attacks were outlined in court documents in October.

The court documents support child pornography charges against Daniel James Heinrich, who was named a person of interest in Jacob Wetterling’s Oct. 22, 1989, abduction from St. Joseph. Heinrich has denied involvement, and has not been charged in Jacob’s abduction or in the Paynesville cases, but the documents show DNA links him to the sexual assault of another boy in nearby Cold Spring.

“We don’t know if he did it, we don’t know that he didn’t,” Patty Wetterling said. “But there’s a lot of angst and pain and questions. … It’s kind of an opportunity for all of us to pool together instead of kind of suffering alone.”

Patty Wetterling said that while Heinrich’s arrest feels different than other leads authorities have had over the years, she said she won’t feel any closer to answers until she knows what happened to her son. She said she has no insight into the investigation, but she knows authorities are using every tool possible to determine if Heinrich took Jacob.

“If he didn’t do it, somebody else did,” she said. “But if he did it, it’s time for us to know.”

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