NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — A few dozen tips came in to the Norton Shores Police Department after an hour-long special featuring the abduction case of Jessica Heeringa.
Nearly three years ago, Heeringa disappeared from the Exxon Mobil gas station on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores, where she was working the night shift alone. There were no surveillance cameras at the gas station. The case has gone unsolved.
Monday, the Investigation Discovery channel aired an hour-long feature in the case Monday night on “Disappeared.” It’s the first time many of the case details were aired to a national television audience.
Since the special aired, some 30 tips have come in to NSPD, Lt. Michael Kasher told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday afternoon. Many of the tips were leads police had already exhausted, but a few are being actively investigated, Kasher said without going into detail.
“There’s a couple of them that have piqued my interest,” he said.
Kasher said he was not allowed a preview the show and saw it when it aired like everyone else.
“I thought that they did a nice job of meshing it together,” he said of the broadcast.
The episode, he said, seemed to focus in on two people as suspects: a manager at the gas station and her husband. But he said the pair is very low on their list of persons of interest.
“We have dug into them and re-dug into them and re-intervierwed and interrogated and did everything possible — checked their alibis, checked their cellphones checked their computers. We don’t have anything that we believe that they did it,” Kasher said emphatically.
With 25 years of service as a police officer and countless cases under his belt, Kasher said the Heeringa case has been his biggest undertaking. And, he says, it has gotten personal.
“What am I missing? What have I not done right?” he said, listing the questions he asks himself all the time. “You kind of put the blame on yourself. You start internalizing it, going, I must’ve made a mistake someplace. I have to have ’cause … we don’t have an answer.”
Tipsters in the case are asked to call Muskegon County’s Silent Observer at 231.72.CRIME (27463). Heeringa’s family has also set up an anonymous tip line at 231.222.0278.
Along with Heeringa’s family, Kasher says he remains hopeful that she is still alive out there somewhere. He says it’s motivation that keeps him going on an exhausting case.
“That’s kind of what we all kind of go on, isn’t it — hope. A little hope,” Kasher said. “That’s what pushes you to get up in the morning, to do your job and to hopefully get some answers for people.”