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Rassier Files Suit In Case Involving Danny Heinrich

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Attorneys are pushing to talk with Jacob Wetterling's killer in prison.

That's as a lawsuit against a wrongfully accused man moves forward. A motion filed in court Tuesday asks for permission to depose Danny Heinrich. The attorneys representing Dan Rassier say some questions have never been answered by Heinrich before.

Rassier is suing Stearns County and former investigators for pointing to him as a person of interest.

We spoke to one of his attorneys, who blame the sheriff's office for failing to connect the dots. Those dots are laid out in new paperwork filed in federal court. Why the murder of Jacob Wetterling should have been prevented. From Jared Scheierl in Cold Spring to the Paynesville cluster and two more attempted abductions in St. Joseph. Just months and miles from Jacob's kidnapping.

"It's shocking. We didn't realize how much this guy had done and had not been caught," Mike Padden said.

It's those cases, Rassier's attorney Mike Padden is focused on with a list of potential questions for Danny Heinrich in prison: Specifically, the cars Heinrich had access to in 1989. Vehicles Rassier told investigators he saw.

In 2015, WCCO took an in-depth look at one attempted abduction case in St. Joseph three months before Jacob's, where a 9 year-old boy ran from a man driving a tan van who asked him to get inside. His parents reported it to Stearns County.  But, it was a week after Jacob went missing when a sketch was released.

"It shows that in July of 1989 the Stearns County Sheriff's Office was aware of an attempted abduction and they did nothing," Padden said.

It's all part of the now years-long process Padden says will show former Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner had no reason to  point the finger at Dan Rassier. Digging up his property in 2010 and naming him a person of interest. A case where Padden believes compensation is the only recourse his client has left.

"He really wants the truth more than anything. Let the chips fall where they may with the rest of it," Padden said.

The attorney representing Stearns County and the former sheriff told WCCO that Danny Heinrich has nothing relevant to say. He calls the move theatrical and a pointless endeavor. A decision on the deposition should be made during a hearing on Dec. 12 in Fergus Falls.

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