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Jacob Wetterling suspect Danny Heinrich appearing in court today

Daniel James Heinrich has been charged in a child pornography investigation has been called a person of interest in the disappearance of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling of St. Joseph, Minn., in 1989

MINNEAPOLIS — Danny Heinrich, the man who led authorities to the remains of Jacob Wetterling, is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.

A status conference in the child-pornography case against Heinich, 53, of Annandale, is set before Chief Judge John Tunheim. Heinrich has been charged with 25 counts of possessing and receiving child pornography; he pleaded not guilty to those charges in February and is to go to trial in October.

Heinrich last year was named as a "person of interest" in the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, the 11-year-old St. Joseph boy who was abducted from a rural road near his house on Oct. 22, 1989, and never seen again.

Heinrich has not been charged in that case, but authorities last summer searched his house for ties to the boy's disappearance.

Heinrich had been under increasing scrutiny as authorities have revisited Jacob's abduction and investigated a string of sexual assaults on preteen and teen boys near Paynesville in the mid- to late 1980s; Jacob was taken less than a mile from his home in St. Joseph, which is about 20 miles from Paynesville. Heinrich lived in Paynesville with his father at the time of the abduction.

Last Wednesday, Heinrich led a team of FBI agents and state and county investigators to a pasture near Paynesville where Wetterling's skeletal remains were buried, according to a source with direct knowledge of the search. Investigators revisited the site again Friday for crime-scene purposes.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office said Jacob's remains were identified Saturday. Authorities expect to provide more details this week.

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