NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — A man now accused of murder and kidnapping wasn’t at work in the days after Jessica Heeringa vanished, a law enforcement official close to the investigation confirmed to 24 Hour News 8.
Jeffrey Willis is considered a person of interest in Heeringa’s disappearance.
Police say Heeringa was abducted from the gas station on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores around 11 p.m. on April 26, 2013. That may have been around the time Willis would have been headed to the Herman Miller facility in Spring Lake for his job if he was scheduled to work third shift that day.
Co-workers previously told 24 Hour News 8 that Willis frequented the Sternberg Road gas station and knew Jessica. The gas station is south of his home and about nine minutes north of Herman Miller.
Surveillance cameras at businesses near the gas station captured images of a silver minivan that may have been involved in Heeringa’s disappearance. Willis owns a silver minivan.
Norton Shores police had not responded to requests for comment as of late Thursday afternoon. They previously said that they don’t have any evidence linking Willis to Heeringa’s case.
Anyone with information about Heeringa’s disappearance is asked to call the Norton Shores Police Department at 231.733.2691 or Muskegon County Silent Observer at 231.72. CRIME (27463).
Willis is already charged with murder in the June 2014 shooting death of Rebekah Bletsch and kidnapping and assault after allegedly abducting a teen in April of this year. That teen managed to escape by jumping from the kidnapper’s moving vehicle. He also faces charges connected to the creation and possession of child pornography.
When police searched Willis’s silver minivan after his arrest, they found a hidden compartment containing syringes filled with what seemed to be a sedative; rope, handcuffs and chains; images of bound and gagged women; and a gun, according to court documents. Ballistics later linked that gun to Bletsch’s homicide.