Jessica Lynn Heeringa

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Above Images: Heeringa, circa 2013

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 26, 2013 from Norton Shores, Michigan
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: July 16, 1987
  • Age: 25 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'1, 105 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Heeringa has a lazy eye. She has the following tattoos: a sun and moon on her right calf, sleeping Z's on her left foot, a star on her back and a musical note and a peace sign on her left ankle. She may wear wire-rimmed eyeglasses.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A black tank top under a bright blue collared polo shirt with a Sternberg Exxon logo, blue jeans and high-heeled boots.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Heeringa was last seen working at an Exxon Mobile gas station in the 1100 block of east Sternberg Road in Norton Shores, Michigan on April 26, 2013. She had been working the late shift alone and disappeared sometime between 10:51 and 11:07 p.m., shortly before closing time. Her last cash register transaction took place at 10:51, and at 11:07 a customer found the station unattended. Authorities believe she was abducted. Heeringa's coat, purse, keys, identification and $420 in cash were left inside the store, and her car was parked outside. There were no indications of a struggle and no money was missing from the cash register, but a small spot of her blood was found on the ground near the station's back door.

    A witness reported seeing an unknown man flirting with Heeringa at the gas station hours before her disappearance. A sketch of the man is posted below this case summary. He is described as Caucasian and in his thirties, about 6'0 tall with a medium to heavy build and wavy, sandy brown or blond hair. He was wearing a bright red or orange sweatshirt and was driving a silver minivan, possibly a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. The gas station has no surveillance cameras, but a camera from a business a mile away from it shows a silver minivan driving by at 11:04 p.m., around the time of Heeringa's disappearance. It hasn't been established that the driver of the van was involved in Heeringa's case, but authorities are trying to identify him.

    In May 2016, over three years after Heeringa's disappearance, Jeffrey Thomas Willis was arrested and charged with kidnapping a sixteen-year-old girl who was able to escape from him after he lured her into his van. Several days later, he was also charged with the murder of Rebekah Sue Bletsch, a 36-year-old woman who was shot to death while jogging in Dalton Township, Michigan in June 2014. Authorities have identified him as a person of interest in Heeringa's case.

    A photo of Willis is posted below this case summary. When police searched his van they found a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol with the serial number filed off, ammunition for the pistol, a sheathed knife, two video recorders, five syringes and bondage material. Willis also had bondage pornography, child pornography, a five-page list of American serial killers, and a three-page list of women's names and telephone numbers in his home. Authorities believe he downloaded child pornography off the internet and used a hidden camera to record images of minor girls using the bathroom in his home; he's also been charged in connection with that.

    Kevin Lavern Bluhm, Willis's cousin, was charged with lying to police in their investigation into Willis's suspected crimes, including Heeringa's disappearance. When he was questioned in mid-May 2016, he said he hadn't seen Willis for almost a year and had never seen him with a handgun. But in an interview a month later, he admitted he'd seen Willis in early May and Willis showed him a handgun at that time. He said Willis forced him to "take care of Miss Heeringa." At the end of the second interview, he claimed he had made everything up.

    Willis's van, a silver 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan, resembles the one sought in Heeringa's disappearance, and according to his coworkers, he had been to her gas station many times before, as it was along his route to work. His coworkers stated he'd discussed Heeringa's case with them after she went missing. The witness who saw the man with Heeringa before her disappearance, whose information was used to make the composite sketch, was unable to identify Willis as the man she saw, but also said she couldn't rule him out.

    The gas station owner and Heeringa's fiance, the father of her toddler son, have both been ruled out as suspects in Heeringa's case. No charges have been filed against anyone in her disappearance; her kidnapping remains unsolved.

    Sketch Willis
    Left: Sketch of unidentified man;
    Right: Jeffrey Willis

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Norton Shores Police Department
    231-733-2691

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    Source Information
    NamUs
    ABC News
    The Daily Mail
    WOOD TV
    Facebook Page for Jessica Heeringa
    WXYZ Detroit
    Muskegon News

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated July 24, 2016; details of disappearance updated.

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