Days after federal authorities identified a "person of interest" in the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling, Patty Wetterling said she believes someone in the community knows what happened to her son and pleaded again for the public's help.
"We still don't know who took Jacob. We have as many questions or more as all of you," she told reporters Tuesday outside her home in St. Joseph, Minn.
"We will let law enforcement and the courts and the process continue, and watch impatiently for answers," she said, acknowledging that the new developments in the case caught her and her husband Jerry off guard.
"Where is Jacob? That's what we're always going to ask," she said. "I really believe that someone in this community knows."
Federal authorities on Thursday named Daniel James Heinrich, an Annandale, Minn., man as a "person of interest" in Jacob's abduction 26 years ago near the family's home.
• Oct. 29: Feds: Man charged with child porn is 'person of interest' in Wetterling case
• Explainer: Where the Wetterling case stands
Officials said they charged Heinrich with possessing child pornography after gathering evidence during a July search they said was related to the Wetterling case.
Heinrich has not been charged with any crime directly connected to Jacob, who was 11 years old when he was abducted.
The FBI, however, said shoe patterns at the Wetterling abduction site were consistent with those worn by Heinrich, and that his car's tires were consistent with tread marks on the scene.
Authorities also say DNA evidence links Heinrich to another central Minnesota child abduction case in the Cold Spring area that occurred less than one year before Jacob's abduction.
"No one person can solve this case and bring Jacob home," Jerry Wetterling said Tuesday as he appealed to the public for help. He urged people to come forward with pieces of information that, collectively, might solve the case.
"Hope is real," Patty Wetterling said. "Hope is a verb."