Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Public awaits details in Wetterling case

Jacob Wetterling
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Jacob Wetterling

The announcement that Jacob Wetterling’s remains had been found came as a thunderclap as Minnesota went off on a long holiday weekend. The bulk of the coverage since has been light on fresh information, and likely to remain that way until authorities take questions. The AP says, “The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office released no fresh information Sunday, but says authorities expect to be able to provide more details early this week.”

WCCO-TV had this over the weekend. “Sources tell WCCO the discovery of Jacob’s remains were part of a plea deal made with [Daniel] Heinrich that prosecutors had been working on for months. Criminal Defense Attorney Joe Friedberg is not directly involved in the case, but he told WCCO today a deal like this would be rare in a murder case. Friedberg believes it means Heinrich will plead guilty to the child pornography charges and not be prosecuted for Jacob’s murder. … ‘I can’t imagine that he said, ‘Look, I’ve done this and I’ve lived with it for so long I’d like to get rid of it,’ Friedberg said. ‘My guess is some form of immunity was given to him so he would lead them to where Jacob’s remains are.’ Friedberg also says state law states that a victim’s family would first have to sign off on such a plea deal.”

For the Forum News Service, Carolyn Lange reports, “At times Monday afternoon, the road alongside a well-grazed pasture near Paynesville was quiet. But most times a slow stream of vehicles moved at a crawl around the curve in the road as drivers and passengers gazed out the windows. Some vehicles parked and people got out — or got off the bicycles they were riding — and stood quietly looking at a grove of trees and wetland on a farm site where the remains and clothing of Jacob Wetterling were found last week in this central Minnesota town about 95 northwest of Minneapolis.”

For KCCI-TV down in Des Moines, Alex Kirkpatrick writes, “The significant development in the Minnesota case is a grim reminder of two Iowa boys who went missing in the 1980s as well – both of whom were paperboys. Johnny Gosch, 12, went missing 34 years ago this Labor Day weekend as he was delivering newspapers in a West Des Moines neighborhood. Noreen Gosch still deals with the pain by taking action to keep the case alive, although she believes her son was a victim of human trafficking and sold to a pedophile. Eugene Martin, 13, disappeared on Aug. 12, 1984, while delivering newspapers in Des Moines.”

The strike is on. Steve Karnowski for the AP says, “Thousands of nurses at five Minnesota hospitals on Monday began an open-ended strike in a dispute over health insurance, workplace safety and staffing. Clad in red T-shirts, members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, which represents about 4,800 nurses at five Twin Cities-area hospitals run by Allina Health, hit the picket lines at 7 a.m. on Labor Day. … The affected hospitals are Abbott Northwestern and the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley and Mercy in Coon Rapids.”

Today in your precious Second Amendment news. An AP story says, “Authorities in Wabasha County of southeastern Minnesota are investigating a gun shop burglary in which 60 to 80 firearms were stolen. Keith Stones, owner of the Millville Gun and Rod Shop, says the thieves struck around 4 a.m. Friday. He estimates the missing guns were worth $40,000. Stones says his surveillance video shows the thieves bursting in through the front door, then ransacking the shop.” They are no doubt law-abiding sportsmen, other than the breaking in and stealing parts.

And there’s a fight up in North Dakota. For the Bismarck Tribune, Nick Smith says, “Despite a clash on Saturday between opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline project and private security officers hired for protection along the construction route, protesters say they’re still optimistic the project can be stopped by continued opposition and through the courts. Hundreds milled around the protest camps near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation on a cool Monday, contrasting the gloomy weather with continued prayers, mingling with each other and enjoying donated food being cooked.”

Worried that Sam Bradford won’t be any better than he was in Philadelphia? At the Wall Street Journal Michael Salfino writes, “Bradford, aged 28, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, but has underwhelmed in the NFL, struggling through several injury-riddled and ineffective seasons. He is now on his third NFL team. But a look back at other No. 1 overall quarterbacks whose pro careers involved stops with at least three different teams suggests Vikings fans shouldn’t be too down on the trade. In fact, for these passers, history shows that the third time is often a charm.” Carson Palmer and Jim Plunkett are in the list.

We’re in the top three … for Zika. Says a WCCO-TV story: “Currently 72 countries and territories are infected by Zika. In the Midwest, Minnesota is among the top three states for people with Zika virus. We now have at least 40 cases here, according to the CDC’s latest count. Illinois and Michigan have slightly more. All of the cases in Minnesota are associated with travel.”

Also for the Forum News Service, John Lundy says, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported earlier this year that 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, and that at least half of opioid overdose deaths involve prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. In Minnesota, 572 people died of overdoses in 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health reported earlier this year, including 31 in St. Louis County—where there were no overdose deaths at all from 2002-10. The epidemic had a high-profile victim earlier this year in Minnesota with the death of the pop star Prince, who reportedly died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic opioid.”

As you might expect, there’s some tough publicity for Jason Lewis in The Nation. Says Jon Wiener, “Jason Lewis is the Republicans’ gift to the DFL (the ‘Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party,’ as the Democrats call themselves in Minnesota). Two decades of ranting on the radio (he quit in 2014) have provided a gold mine of Trumpish material for his opponent. He’s complained about white race ‘suicide,’ pointing out that Latinos have a higher birth rate; he’s complained about single women, who, he says, ‘vote on the issue of somebody else buying their diaphragm’ (i.e., including reproductive health coverage as part of Obamacare). He’s what you might call a crazy libertarian: ‘if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t,’ he said. ‘But don’t tell other people they can’t’ (i.e., the government shouldn’t tell people what to do with their lives). There’s lots more like that—and voters in the district are now learning all about it.”

The Park Board … under pressure. Says Steve Brandt in the Strib, “Activists pushing for racial equity have continued to pressure the Minneapolis Park Board, forcing meetings into temporary recess and even showing up at the doorstep of Park Superintendent Jayne Miller. The most outspoken and persistent critics — a trio of present or former park workers with grievances, supported by activists from the Minneapolis NAACP and other activists — accuse the park system of racial bias in its hiring, promotion and discipline of staff. Their accusations and chanting in board meetings have grown so frequent that the Park Board now has a dedicated Web page covering 17 related topics.”

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Bill Phillips on 09/06/2016 - 08:50 am.

    a bit of an edit

    sad, but not unexpected news on the Wetterling case. Finally some resolution for the family.

    A bit of grammar though: Friedberg also says state law states that a victims’ family would first have to sign off on such a plea deal.”

    Not sure why only a closing quote mark appears, and it should be “a victim’s family”

    • Submitted by Tom Nehil on 09/06/2016 - 10:39 am.

      Closing quote

      The whole passage beginning “Sources tell WCCO…” is quoted from the WCCO story, which is why the quote mark appears after “plea deal.”

      Incidentally, that’s the source of the “victims’” typo, but I’ve corrected it here. Thanks!

Leave a Reply