Jacob Wetterling was missing for 27 years before authorities found his remains and a man confessed to the kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing the boy.
Here's a snapshot of what happened since Jacob was taken.
1989: The abduction
Danny Heinrich confronts 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, his brother and a friend while they're out renting a movie on Oct. 22, 1989, in St. Joseph, Minn. Heinrich — wearing a mask and carrying a gun — takes Jacob.
Heinrich sexually abuses Jacob and shoots him twice, according to court testimony on Sept. 6, 2016.
He digs Jacob's grave with a Bobcat and doesn't bury the boy's shoes, according to the testimony.
Hundreds of Minnesota National Guard members, law enforcement officials and volunteers search for Jacob in the days after his disappearance.
Twenty-six years would pass before Heinrich's name publicly surfaces in relation to the investigation of Jacob's disappearance.
1990: The Jacob Wetterling Foundation
Supporters form what is now known as the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.
A year after the kidnapping, Heinrich returns to where he buried Jacob and notices his jacket is partially exposed, according to his 2016 testimony. He puts the boy's bones and clothes in a bag so he can move and rebury them, according to his confession.
1994: Federal legislation to register sex offenders
Congress passes a crime bill that includes the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sex Offender Registration Act, which required states to register and track sex offenders.
2009: Two decades missing
The 20th anniversary of Jacob's disappearance attracts renewed attention to his case. Investigators had looked into tens of thousands of tips since 1989, but made little progress.
2010: No new evidence after Stearns County farm search
Authorities converge on a Stearns County farm over the summer but come back with no new evidence.
May 2014: More potential links
Stearns County investigators look at whether several assaults against teenage boys in another town in the years before Jacob's disappearance are connected to the case.
Fall 2015: Person of interest charged
Federal investigators arrest Danny Heinrich on child pornography charges, and name him a "person of interest" in the Wetterling case, declining to offer many details.
Jared Scheierl, who was sexually assaulted months before Jacob was taken, describes Heinrich's arrest as "surreal." A man had sexually assaulted Scheierl and threatened to kill him, later letting him go. Authorities say they found Heinrich's DNA on Scheierl's sweatshirt.
2016: Jacob's remains found, Heinrich confesses
• April: Heinrich's lawyers allege illegal search
Danny Heinrich's lawyers say authorities illegally searched his home while seeking evidence in Jacob's abduction. They also say they want his trial on pornography charges moved. The case would never go to trial.
• June: Lengthy filing describes Heinrich's link to case
The Pioneer Press reports on June 2 that a new court document details why investigators consider Heinrich a "person of interest" in Jacob's abduction.
• September: Jacob's remains identified; a confession in court
On Saturday, Sept. 3, Stearns County officials announce that they have found Jacob's remains, leaving much of central Minnesota in a state of sadness and relief.
Heinrich confesses to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Jacob in a plea hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 6. He describes the events in graphic detail. Heinrich also confesses to sexually assaulting Jared Scheierl.
The confessions are part of a plea deal in which Heinrich would not be charged for Jacob's murder.
Heinrich is expected to be sentenced later this fall to 20 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.
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