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'In the Dark': The story of the boy abducted 10 months before Jacob Wetterling

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Jared Scheierl, who was assaulted as a child
Jared Scheierl, who was also assaulted as a child by Danny Heinrich, spoke earlier this month at the press conference announcing Heinrich's confession to the kidnapping, assault, and murder of Jacob Wetterling.
Courtney Perry for MPR News

The In the Dark podcast from APM Reports looks at the abduction of Jacob Wetterling and the nearly-30-year investigation into what happened the night of Oct. 22, 1989. The first three episodes are available to download.

In the third episode, "In the Dark" explores the story of another young boy who was abducted from central Minnesota in the winter of 1989 — just ten months before Jacob Wetterling was taken.

His name is Jared Scheirel, and he was walking home one night, alone, after grabbing a chocolate malt with friends. A man pulled up in a blue car. He told Jared to get in.

"I have a gun and I'm not afraid to use it," he said.  The man drove Jared down a dark, gravel road, and sexually assaulted him. But he let Jared go. 

This year, after no arrests were made for almost 30 years, authorities linked DNA left on Jared's clothes to Danny Heinrich. Heinrich later confessed to both Jared's assault, and to assaulting and killing Jacob Wetterling.

Heinrich was a suspect in Jared's case as early as three days after the assault. When Jacob was kidnapped later that year, Heinrich's name was already in the files of the Stearns County Sheriff's office.

Madeleine Baran, the lead reporter and host, sat down with Jared earlier this year to talk about his case, and how police never connected the dots.