News Corp reports that when Heinrich was asked whether he abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered Jacob, he said: “Yes I did.”
Heinrich, wearing a mask, told a court that he confronted Jacob, his brother and a friend who were riding their bikes. The man grabbed Jacob and told the other two to run.
"What did I do wrong?" Jacob reportedly asked according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Heinrich then handcuffed the boy to his car and told him to duck as cars drove by. He then took him to a gravel pit where he assaulted him.
"I’m cold," Jacob told Heinrich, before asking if he could go home and started to cry.
"I panicked. I pulled the revolver out of my pocket ... I loaded it with two rounds. I told Jacob to turn around."
"I told him I had to go to the bathroom. I raised the revolver to his head. I turned my head and it clicked once. I pulled the trigger again and it went off."
"Looked back, he was still standing. I raised the revolver again and shot him again."
He initially fled the scene but returned later to bury the body.
Heinrich had been a suspect since the early days of the investigations but a lack of evidence meant they were unable to charge him.
Using new DNA evidence, thanks to advances in technology, police were able to obtain a warrant for Heinrich’s home where they uncovered a large collection of child pornography.
Following Jacob’s disappearance, his family became advocates for families of missing children lobbying for tougher laws against sex offenders.
In 1994, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was implemented and led to the creation of a national sex offender and crimes against children registry.