FBI Minneapolis
Public Affairs Officer Kevin W. Smith
(763) 569-8095
September 20, 2018

FBI Reviewing Wetterling Investigative Documents for Release under the Freedom of Information Act

The criminal investigation to bring Jacob Wetterling’s killer to justice spanned more than three decades and involved dozens of state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies along with the courage and support of thousands of Americans across the country. In the end, this collaborative effort resulted in identifying and holding Jacob’s killer accountable for his egregious crimes that forever changed Minnesota.

It is important to stress that the end of this case would not have been achieved if not for the investigative work that was done at the beginning of this case. The hard work of our state and local partners is to be commended. It is also important to acknowledge the victims in this crime, as they never gave up hope. The participation, patience, and passion of the Wetterling family, the defendant’s other victims, and the community at large, was instrumental in ensuring that justice was done.

Because of the attention this case has received, the public is understandably interested in reviewing the investigative records in this case. Today, local authorities released more than 40,000 documents in this investigation. FBI documents, which made up a portion of the overall case file, were not included in today’s release. On March 24, 2018, a state court ordered the return of all federal records compiled in the Wetterling investigation to the FBI.

Numerous individuals and media outlets requested the release of the Wetterling case file from the FBI. Those requests are currently pending. The FBI processes Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests relative to the size of the requested records on a first-in, first-out basis. Consistent with the FOIA, records requested by three or more requesters will be made available for public access online at https://vault.fbi.gov.

The FBI—along with every other federal government agency—creates and obtains records as it carries out its day to day operations. In the FBI, these records generally include investigative files as well as records generated in the performance of agency administrative missions and functions. The public may seek release of FBI records under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 USC § 552. For more information on making a FOIA request, visit www.fbi.gov/foia.