No new answers for Wetterling family after latest investigation

Jerry Wetterling
Jerry Wetterling, the father of Jacob Wetterling, who is believed to have been abducted in 1989, said the latest investigation has left his family feeling empty. "We want answers and it's just time," he said.
MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza

The father of a boy abducted in 1989 said the latest investigation, which authorities said Tuesday turned up no new evidence, has left his family in limbo.

"We just, you know, are just -- we're getting tired," Jerry Wetterling said. "We want answers and it's just time. It'd be time to know."

The Stearns County sheriff said that lab work on items taken this summer from a Minnesota farm near the site of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling's 1989 abduction that has been going on this summer is almost done, and no clues have emerged.

Wetterling said he's grateful to the law enforcement officials, volunteers, and lab technicians who are working hard to find answers to his son's disappearance, but this most recent update has been particularly difficult for him. He said it's hard to predict how he'll feel each time there's a new development.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.

Remembering Jacob
Jerry Wetterling said one of the ways he maintains a connection with his son is by pinning a button with Jacob's picture on his shirt every day. Wetterling's son went missing in 1989.
MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza

"I've kind of felt sort of empty and I don't know exactly why because this is kind of what I thought might happen," he said.

Wetterling said his feeling might be because so much energy went into the investigation that he hoped maybe just this time it would lead to clear cut answers.

Wetterling said one of the ways he maintains a connection with his son is by pinning a button with Jacob's picture on his shirt every day.

"We're very certain that law enforcement is not going to let up in their search and we all need answers. Everybody wants to know what happened to Jacob," he said.

Digging near Wetterling site
Investigators use a tractor-mounted backhoe to dig just southeast of the Rassier farm in St. Joseph, Minn. Thursday, July 1, 2010. Crews have been digging up a portion of the yard at a rural St. Joseph farm near the site where Jacob Wetterling was abducted in 1989.
AP Photo/St. Cloud Times, Kimm Anderson

With little explanation, investigators returned in late June to the farm near the highway where Jacob Wetterling was abducted, trucking away dirt and prompting hope that the 21-year-old mystery might get solved.

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner said that's unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"We have gotten some preliminary results back from the BCA crime lab and based on the analysis that they've completed on the items that we sent them, they were unable to identify any potential evidence for us," Sanner said.

Sheriff Sanner said investigators would continue to test and analyze any evidence. He said he couldn't specify what items would undergo further analysis and what kind of testing because he doesn't want to jeopardize what remains an ongoing investigation. He said more pieces of the investigation remain to be conducted.

The ongoing investigation has also been difficult for the family who owns the farm near the abduction site. A son of the family that owns the farm, who didn't want to share his name, said the investigations are taking a toll. He said the June search was the fourth on his the property since the 1989 abduction.

He said he's not surprised investigators didn't find any evidence from his family's property related to Jacob Wetterling's disappearance. Logistically, he understands why law enforcement keeps returning to his parents' farm, but he said he wants "this revolving door to stop."

He said he wants peace for both his family and the Wetterlings.