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  1. #1
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    Vehicles

    Over the last few days I have immersed myself in this case trying to catch up on the facts. This is the sort of situation that the local community finds very disturbing and the parents are effectively keeping active. It is also fife with rumor and misinformation.

    Initially, it was assumed that someone with a vehicle was involved since there were witnesses who saw a red Chevette parked in the driveway "near" the time of the crime and tire tracks were found in the driveway "consistent" with that make and model and Jacob's foot print was found near the track mark. Because no one in the vicinity owned such a car, it was assumed the perp was an "outsider". Because the facts of the case were "similar" to the Cold Springs abduction of another boy in 1/89, it was assumed they were related and the composite of that perp was released as the "suspect". The composite showed an older, heavyset man who did not look at all like DR.

    Although the surviving boys did not see a car, did not recall hearing a car leave the driveway after they were told to run away, and did not recall being passed on the road by any vehicle, it was assumed that the perp had a car, probably a red Chevette, and saw the boys earlier, figured out they would be heading south on 91st and "laid in wait" at the driveway. The investigation focused on sex offenders and Chevette owners throughout central and southern Minnesota.

    In 2003, 14 years after the abduction, a former "art student" came forward and said that he was driving his Chevette in the area when he heard the initial report on the Police scanner. He drove to the scene and parked in the driveway and eventually "left". Trino reported in post #315 of this thread (10/6/09) that the student was there when the police arrived and they told him to leave! If this is true (and I can find no news story the either backs this up or contradicts it), this would be a MAJOR ERROR in the case and may have totally derailed it. (Either the first responder failed to mention the Chevette in his report or the detectives/FBI failed to read the report).
    Trino, can you back this story up?

    In 2005 (2 years after the art student emerged) there was a "re-opening" of the case with a new theory (the perp didn't have a car, he was local and this case was unrelated to Cold Springs), there was a new POI (unnamed but identified as a "neighbor") and Jacob's mother made references to "errors" in the earlier investigation. Apparently there was a search of DR's property at that time. From what I can tell, LE was not ruling out the prior theory that the perp was an outsider with a car, they were just now considering the serious possibility that he was a local without a car.

    Any Comments?

  2. #2
    ELOCsoul's Avatar
    ELOCsoul is offline Verified Author - "Finding Jacob Wetterling"
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    It's Simple - It's All About The Cars

    The following analysis is my opinion only.

    It’s all about the cars, simple as that. Specifically, is DR telling the truth when he says he saw two cars in his driveway on the day that Jacob was abducted (with neither of those cars being Kevin's)? And equally as important, when did he report that information to LE and the media?

    On the one hand, if DR is telling the truth about the cars, and told LE about those cars from day one – then it stands to reason that he could well be an innocent witness, and there was indeed something sinister brewing in St Joseph on that 22nd day of October 1989.

    Factors That Support DR’s Story About the Cars
    1. He did tell the media, on October 23, that he saw a small car turn around in his driveway. That info was reported in the St Cloud Times and directly quoted to DR.
    2. There were several attempted abductions reported within a 50 mile radius of the Twin Cities in fall 1989, with the car being described as a large tan car. The abduction attempts reported tended to be within a few miles of I-94.

    On the other hand – if DR did not tell LE about the 2 cars right away – that would most certainly indicate that he made up the story in an attempt to cover up the crime. If he saw the cars, there would be no logical reason for him to withhold that information from LE.

    Factors That Question DR’s Story About the Cars
    1. If he did tell the media and LE about both the cars he saw in his driveway, then why wasn’t that information reported publicly at the time? The newspapers were peppered with stories about attempted abductions, vehicle descriptions, etc – why was there no public communication about DR seeing cars?
    2. There were several attempted abductions reported in the area shortly after Jacob’s abduction. A tan car was described in several of those reports. If DR did not report on the afternoon car immediately, then it’s likely that he took bits of info from the reports of attempted abductions, and crafted a story to fit those scenarios.
    3. DR insists that the driver of that afternoon car is the one guilty of committing the abduction. There is no logic in that assertion; it just doesn’t make sense on any level.
    4. Prior to this year, DR has been quoted as saying he witnessed things throughout the day that coalesced in his mind as important information that could lead to the abductor. He refused to go public with the information for fear that it could tip off the kidnapper. Again, that does not make any logical sense. The fact that DR publicly stated that he saw things that day, alone in itself, would tip off the “real” kidnapper because that person would know or figure out whose driveway he was on when he turned around – why would DR think holding back information about the cars would jeopardize the investigation?
    5. DR says he didn't see or hear Kevin's car in the driveway that night, minutes after the abduction. DR's dog barking alerts him to the 2nd car in his driveway, but minutes later Kevin, presumably driving slower than the other two cars, doesn't give the dog cause to bark furiously? IMO, the slower the car in the driveway, the louder and longer a dog will bark. A fast moving car - that's likely to startle a dog, but hard to tell how quickly the dog would react by barking.
    6. When Kevin came forward in 2004 to provide the information that he was driving the car in DR's driveway that night - why did LE suddenly change their theory of the case to an abduction on foot? That would indicate to me that LE didn't "buy" his story about he other two cars he reported (again, when did he report them?). So that raises a big question - if LE didn't believe DR about the other two cars, then why would they believe a car was involved at all, ever?

    Another thing about DR’s story that does not add up, in my opinion, are parts of his account of his day. This is an example I don't think anyone has brought up before now - he says he remembers getting the newspaper that evening when he returned from his run. First – that is an odd thing to remember about something that happened 23 years ago. Second – it’s so insignificant that one has to wonder why he even stated it. Third – who doesn’t look forward to getting the Sunday paper every week? I don’t know about you all, but if I don’t get the Sunday paper from the box before 8am it’s because I’m out of town! OK, yeah I’m probably making too big a deal about the newspaper, but one has to wonder if DR’s motive for including that odd detail is to have an explanation at to why his scent or presence was detected near the mailbox where the abduction took place. He lives there, why would he feel the need to justify it?? Just sayin’

  3. #3
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    the cars

    Who has insight or can think of a previously missed connection with some of the cars possibly related to this case?
    (from ELOC's book mostly)



    • Blue “older, 4 door” attempted abduction in Paynesville
    • Red “station wagon” probably attempted abduction in Owatonna, MN
    • Dark Blue “newer, 4 door” Cold Spring, Jared’s abduction, mid sized, blue interior, possible police scanner in car
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” Kraemer Lake attempted abduction number 1
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” 3rd party witness sees van around St Joseph
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” 2 weeks later, still Kraemer Lake, attempt number 2
    • Liight color “van” 7 miles from Kraemer Lake, seen stalking children playing
    • Burgundy “1976 Catalina” Seen three times on the street where Jacob was abducted
    • Red “small car” seen about 4 blocks from abduction site, jacked up
    • Dark Brown “1970s station wagon” Seen in St Jo 1 wk prior to Jacob’s abduction “Catch me if you Can’ sticker



    777

  4. #4
    ELOCsoul's Avatar
    ELOCsoul is offline Verified Author - "Finding Jacob Wetterling"
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    Quote Originally Posted by 777 View Post
    Who has insight or can think of a previously missed connection with some of the cars possibly related to this case?
    (from ELOC's book mostly)



    • Blue “older, 4 door” attempted abduction in Paynesville
    • Red “station wagon” probably attempted abduction in Owatonna, MN
    • Dark Blue “newer, 4 door” Cold Spring, Jared’s abduction, mid sized, blue interior, possible police scanner in car
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” Kraemer Lake attempted abduction number 1
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” 3rd party witness sees van around St Joseph
    • Light Tan “van, 1970s, rusty” 2 weeks later, still Kraemer Lake, attempt number 2
    • Liight color “van” 7 miles from Kraemer Lake, seen stalking children playing
    • Burgundy “1976 Catalina” Seen three times on the street where Jacob was abducted
    • Red “small car” seen about 4 blocks from abduction site, jacked up
    • Dark Brown “1970s station wagon” Seen in St Jo 1 wk prior to Jacob’s abduction “Catch me if you Can’ sticker



    777
    I think it's interesting that the two cars that the POI says he witnessed at the crime scene, on the day of the abduction, were not mentioned in the media as being sought by investigators.

    Aside from that - there were a number of vehicles and possible abduction attempts in the area. When Jacob was taken there was talk that the abduction was for ransom, because his dad was a Dr. (chiropractor) and so was Andrew's father.

  5. #5
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    That rusty tan 70's van has to be important. Not only seen four times, but stalking and attempted abductions! Kraemer Lake is on County Road #2 which runs between St. Joe and Cold Spring. Do you know if these reports surfaced after JW was abducted or at the time of the sighting?

    Also, wasn't there quite a search in that very area for JW?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shay View Post
    That rusty tan 70's van has to be important. Not only seen four times, but stalking and attempted abductions! Kraemer Lake is on County Road #2 which runs between St. Joe and Cold Spring. Do you know if these reports surfaced after JW was abducted or at the time of the sighting?

    Also, wasn't there quite a search in that very area for JW?
    Isn't that the one with the younger guy with dark hair, glasses? It seems like people would be on the lookout for such a car. It surprises me that no one ever reported the car. He had to live somewhere where people would see him

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shay View Post
    That rusty tan 70's van has to be important. Not only seen four times, but stalking and attempted abductions! Kraemer Lake is on County Road #2 which runs between St. Joe and Cold Spring. Do you know if these reports surfaced after JW was abducted or at the time of the sighting?

    Also, wasn't there quite a search in that very area for JW?
    Correction to my original post...there is also access to Kraemer Lake from 287th Street and Cty Road #51 (which is also a back way to get to St. John's University) not just from Cty Road #2.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELOCsoul View Post
    I think it's interesting that the two cars that the POI says he witnessed at the crime scene, on the day of the abduction, were not mentioned in the media as being sought by investigators.

    Aside from that - there were a number of vehicles and possible abduction attempts in the area. When Jacob was taken there was talk that the abduction was for ransom, because his dad was a Dr. (chiropractor) and so was Andrew's father.
    From your book and everything I've read in the media previous to Kevin's outlandish story coming to light, it seems almost all the manpower in this case was spent managing tips from the public.

    Part of this focus on tips is explained by the early almost-certain belief by the cops that Jared's and Jacob's cases are related. But the other part seems to be that for whatever reason, they did not prioritize evidence from the crime scene (such as really pursuing the tire tracks and the Monte Carlo) ...until...

    Kevin shows up. Suddenly, their focus reversed and they decided the crime scene was the key to the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shay View Post
    That rusty tan 70's van has to be important. Not only seen four times, but stalking and attempted abductions! Kraemer Lake is on County Road #2 which runs between St. Joe and Cold Spring. Do you know if these reports surfaced after JW was abducted or at the time of the sighting?

    Also, wasn't there quite a search in that very area for JW?
    That van is all over the place.

    IIRC, the van WAS in fact published as a vehicle of interest (VOI - a 777 term). But I can't remember if this VOI was made known before or after Jacob...ELOC or anyone remember the sequence of when the cops sought public help identifying the van?
    .
    .
    .
    Personally I feel at this late date, the vehicle information we have seems the most likely way to get a break in the case.




    777

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 777 View Post
    Personally I feel at this late date, the vehicle information we have seems the most likely way to get a break in the case.

    777
    Agreed! I wish there was someway to lookup vehicle history of people LE has looked at in this case. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any resource in order to do this.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifermn View Post
    Agreed! I wish there was someway to lookup vehicle history of people LE has looked at in this case. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any resource in order to do this.
    The history of every car produced in the US is available. At the moment I'm unsure how much of it is wide open to the public and how much is accessible from the likes of a specialised investigator, I'll try to look into it tomorrow.

    It would be do-able to get a list of all known white vans registered in MN in 1989. Or all known 1970s Monte Carlos. Naturally, the list will be huge.

    However, there is a chance that such a list would illuminate a connection to some known subjects in this case. Alternatively, this list might open up one or more new avenues to investigate. What if there is only one white van or one 1970s Monte Carlo registered within a 5 mile radius of Jacob's house?

    This is the kind of things cops have easier access to, but I'm fairly certain the general public can get the same info with some effort.




    777


  11. #11
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    The MN DMV only keeps registration records for 7 years on a vehicle. I would imagine LE has VIN's of the cars that most of the suspects owned or had access to. They would have had until 1996 to go back into the records and gather that information.

    A few of the vehicles really stick out to me as being identifiable. For one, the "Catch Me if you Can" bumper sticker car should be one of the easiest to locate. We have no information as to whether or not LE has successfully tracked that car.

    The second is Kevin's GF's car. What is Kevin's alibi for the full day? Could he have driven up DR's driveway that afternoon? Where is this car today?

  12. #12
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    U.S. Code › Title 18 › Part I › Chapter 123 › § 2721
    18 U.S. Code § 2721 - Prohibition on release and use of certain personal information from State motor vehicle records

    Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

    US Code
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    (a)In General.—A State department of motor vehicles, and any officer, employee, or contractor thereof, shall not knowingly disclose or otherwise make available to any person or entity:
    (1) personal information, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2725(3), about any individual obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section; or
    (2) highly restricted personal information, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2725(4), about any individual obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle record, without the express consent of the person to whom such information applies, except uses permitted in subsections (b)(1), (b)(4), (b)(6), and (b)(9):
    Provided
    , That subsection (a)(2) shall not in any way affect the use of organ donation information on an individual’s driver’s license or affect the administration of organ donation initiatives in the States.
    (b)Permissible Uses.—Personal information referred to in subsection (a) shall be disclosed for use in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft, motor vehicle emissions, motor vehicle product alterations, recalls, or advisories, performance monitoring of motor vehicles and dealers by motor vehicle manufacturers, and removal of non-owner records from the original owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers to carry out the purposes of titles I and IV of the Anti Car Theft Act of 1992, the Automobile Information Disclosure Act (15 U.S.C. 1231 et seq.), the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and chapters 301, 305, and 321–331 of title 49, and, subject to subsection (a)(2), may be disclosed as follows:
    (1) For use by any government agency, including any court or law enforcement agency, in carrying out its functions, or any private person or entity acting on behalf of a Federal, State, or local agency in carrying out its functions.
    (2) For use in connection with matters of motor vehicle or driver safety and theft; motor vehicle emissions; motor vehicle product alterations, recalls, or advisories; performance monitoring of motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and dealers; motor vehicle market research activities, including survey research; and removal of non-owner records from the original owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers.
    (3) For use in the normal course of business by a legitimate business or its agents, employees, or contractors, but only—
    (A) to verify the accuracy of personal information submitted by the individual to the business or its agents, employees, or contractors; and
    (B) if such information as so submitted is not correct or is no longer correct, to obtain the correct information, but only for the purposes of preventing fraud by, pursuing legal remedies against, or recovering on a debt or security interest against, the individual.
    (4) For use in connection with any civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding in any Federal, State, or local court or agency or before any self-regulatory body, including the service of process, investigation in anticipation of litigation, and the execution or enforcement of judgments and orders, or pursuant to an order of a Federal, State, or local court.
    (5) For use in research activities, and for use in producing statistical reports, so long as the personal information is not published, redisclosed, or used to contact individuals.
    (6) For use by any insurer or insurance support organization, or by a self-insured entity, or its agents, employees, or contractors, in connection with claims investigation activities, antifraud activities, rating or underwriting.
    (7) For use in providing notice to the owners of towed or impounded vehicles.
    (8) For use by any licensed private investigative agency or licensed security service for any purpose permitted under this subsection.
    (9) For use by an employer or its agent or insurer to obtain or verify information relating to a holder of a commercial driver’s license that is required under chapter 313 of title 49.
    (10) For use in connection with the operation of private toll transportation facilities.
    (11) For any other use in response to requests for individual motor vehicle records if the State has obtained the express consent of the person to whom such personal information pertains.
    (12) For bulk distribution for surveys, marketing or solicitations if the State has obtained the express consent of the person to whom such personal information pertains.
    (13) For use by any requester, if the requester demonstrates it has obtained the written consent of the individual to whom the information pertains.
    (14) For any other use specifically authorized under the law of the State that holds the record, if such use is related to the operation of a motor vehicle or public safety.
    (c)Resale or Redisclosure.—
    An authorized recipient of personal information (except a recipient under subsection (b)(11) or (12)) may resell or redisclose the information only for a use permitted under subsection (b) (but not for uses under subsection (b)(11) or (12)). An authorized recipient under subsection (b)(11) may resell or redisclose personal information for any purpose. An authorized recipient under subsection (b)(12) may resell or redisclose personal information pursuant to subsection (b)(12). Any authorized recipient (except a recipient under subsection (b)(11)) that resells or rediscloses personal information covered by this chapter must keep for a period of 5 years records identifying each person or entity that receives information and the permitted purpose for which the information will be used and must make such records available to the motor vehicle department upon request.
    (d)Waiver Procedures.—
    A State motor vehicle department may establish and carry out procedures under which the department or its agents, upon receiving a request for personal information that does not fall within one of the exceptions in subsection (b), may mail a copy of the request to the individual about whom the information was requested, informing such individual of the request, together with a statement to the effect that the information will not be released unless the individual waives such individual’s right to privacy under this section.
    (e)Prohibition on Conditions.—
    No State may condition or burden in any way the issuance of an individual’s motor vehicle record as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2725(1) to obtain express consent. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit a State from charging an administrative fee for issuance of a motor vehicle record.
    (Added Pub. L. 103–322, title XXX, § 300002(a), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2099; amended Pub. L. 104–287, § 1, Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3388; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 604(b)(46), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3509; Pub. L. 106–69, title III, § 350(c), (d), Oct. 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 1025; Pub. L. 106–346, § 101(a) [title III, § 309(c)–(e)], Oct. 23, 2000, 114 Stat. 1356, 1356A–

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by StinkSprings View Post
    The MN DMV only keeps registration records for 7 years on a vehicle. I would imagine LE has VIN's of the cars that most of the suspects owned or had access to. They would have had until 1996 to go back into the records and gather that information.

    A few of the vehicles really stick out to me as being identifiable. For one, the "Catch Me if you Can" bumper sticker car should be one of the easiest to locate. We have no information as to whether or not LE has successfully tracked that car.

    The second is Kevin's GF's car. What is Kevin's alibi for the full day? Could he have driven up DR's driveway that afternoon? Where is this car today?
    The VIN information, car details like make and color, all known owners, registration information by state etc. is kept permanently by both the manufacturer and the shared database used by the insurance industries.

    Any car that has ever been manufactured in the US is more or less permanently recorded.




    777

  14. #14
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    Would a car dealership keep inventory history of cars they had during a specific period. If the perp was using borrowed cars then there wouldn't be a DMV record of an individual related to the case as owning it.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sere-nity View Post
    Would a car dealership keep inventory history of cars they had during a specific period. If the perp was using borrowed cars then there wouldn't be a DMV record of an individual related to the case as owning it.
    That is a tricky point, you're right.

    All legitimate, big, established car dealers participate in a national database used by the insurance industry which was initially set up to prevent trafficking in stolen cars or to prevent the purchase/sale of vehicles currently held under lien by a lender - and to thwart various other shenanigans. Any car that passes through XYZ Chevrolet Dealership or ABC Ford Dealership will have a paper trail.

    HOWEVER, mom and pop used car dealers don't cooperate so enthusiastically with all this. Even today you can find a way to buy/sell a car at one of these places without ID, no questions asked and without paperwork.....so yes, it's a known opportunity for criminals.




    777

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