ST. CLOUD -- An FBI agent who worked on the Jacob Wetterling case pushed back on the negative reviews of the investigation.

Steve Gilkerson retired from the FBI in 1998 but was involved in interviewing Danny Heinrich early on. He says Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson overstated how much evidence there was against Heinrich in the days after the abduction.

Sheriff Gudmundson was not there. His conclusion regarding the interview of Danny Heinrich and the evidence of the tire, shoe prints and polygraph create a false picture for the public that Heinrich should have been thrown in jail.

Gilkerson says he believes the only way to crack the case would have been through Heinrich confessing years before he did. He says there was never enough evidence to lock Heinrich up.

The only way this case could have ever been solved, and was solved, was through confession. My impression of Heinrich was he would never confess to this crime without evidence showing he committed this crime and given something for his confession.

Gudmundson was critical of the entire investigation into Heinrich's disappearance when local case files were released last month.

In a statement the Stearns County Sheriff's Office says:

It is important to note in retired FBI Agent Steve Gilkerson’s press conference today that the Minneapolis FBI spokesperson, the Special Agent in Charge or any FBI supervisor did not make any statements defending the initial Wetterling investigation. It is also noted that no one from the U.S. Attorney’s Office made any statements in reference to the Wetterling investigation....Agent Gilkerson says that he was unaware of the Paynesville incidents during the course of the investigation. On January 10, 1990 Gilkerson authors a report of his interview with a victim of the Paynesville assaults. Once again, we encourage the FBI to release a copy of their files in the Wetterling investigation.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office called Gilkerson's press conference today a case of "a retired FBI agent defending the indefensible."

This story was written by Minnesota News Network.