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Remains of Minnesota boy found 27 years after his abduction

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The remains of Jacob Wetterling, a boy who was abducted from a rural road in St. Joseph, Minnesota, nearly 27 years ago, have been found, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office said Saturday.

"The Ramsey County Medical Examiner and a forensic odontologist identified the remains as Wetterling's earlier today," a news release said.

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FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office, shows Daniel Heinrich. Patty Wetterling, the mother of Jacob Wetterling, missing since 1989, said Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 that his remains have been found. Heinrich, who authorities have called a person of interest in the 1989 kidnapping, denied any involvement and was not charged with that crime. But he has pleaded not guilty to several federal child pornography charges. (Sherburne County Sheriff's Office via AP )

The release did not say whether anybody was charged, but child pornography suspect Danny James Heinrich, who was questioned in the case, gave authorities the information that led them to the remains, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Heinrich, 53, was arrested last year on federal child pornography charges. 

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, investigators found 19 binders full of child pornography. For a year, Heinrich denied knowing anything about Jacob's disappearance on Oct. 22, 1989. 

Description of the abductor

Jacob was at home with his two younger siblings, Trevor, 10, and Carmen, 8, and Jacob's friend Aaron Larsen, 11, on the night of his disappearance. 

Jacob, his brother, and a friend were on their way home from a convenience store when a man wearing a stocking mask approached them with a gun. 

The man asked the boys their ages, then grabbed Jacob and told the others to run into the woods. 

Jacob's disappearance shook the state of Minnesota and prompted a search that spanned continents. In October 1990, and FBI spokesman told the Associated Press that investigators had chased 50,000 leads.

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FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, Patty and Jerry Wetterling show a photo of their son Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted in October of 1989 in St. Joseph, Minn and is still missing, in Minneapolis. Patty Wetterling said Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 that his remains have been found. Daniel Heinrich, who authorities have called a person of interest in the 1989 kidnapping, denied any involvement and was not charged with that crime. But he has pleaded not guilty to several federal child pornography charges. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press. 

Advocacy despite grief

In the years since Jacob's kidnapping, his mother, Patty Wetterling, helped create the sex offender registry for Minnesota and eventually the nation. 

Wetterling tweeted Saturday saying, "Our family is drawing strength from all your love & support. We're struggling with words at this time. Thank you for your hope."

Jacob's family also issued a statement on the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center's website: 

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