Deadline passes for appeals in Wetterling files release

Friday marked the deadline to appeal a judge's decision ordering state investigative documents in the Jacob Wetterling case to be released.

As of Friday afternoon, no one had appealed the decision, which ordered Stearns County to return FBI documents to the federal government and release the rest of the case file.

Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall said the county is completing the return of the federal documents.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, she said, needs time to verify that all federal documents have been purged from the file before the county can release the thousands of remaining pages.

Jacob Wetterling's parents, Patty and Jerry Wetterling, sued to stop the release of some information they said was personal.

Several media organizations including MPR joined the lawsuit, arguing that criminal investigations become public data once the case is closed.

In 2016, Danny Heinrich confessed to kidnapping and killing Jacob Wetterling in rural St. Joseph in 1989. Heinrich is serving a 20-year prison sentence for child pornography.

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