MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A cousin of Muskegon County murder suspect Jeffrey Willis — also considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa — has been charged with lying to police.
Kevin Lavern Bluhm, 47, a sergeant at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon, could face up to four years in prison if convicted. Prison officials said they suspended Bluhm without pay on Friday.
In an affidavit obtained by 24 Hour News 8, Michigan State Police said they were interviewing Bluhm on May 18, the day after they arrested Willis in the kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl who managed to escape by jumping from a moving vehicle.
Records show the interview with Bluhm at his home was part of the investigation into the then-unsolved 2014 death of Rebekah Bletsch. She was shot to death with a .22-caliber handgun while jogging near her home in northern Muskegon County.
MSP said Bluhm lied to them in that first interview, saying he hadn’t seen Willis since July 2015 and that he’d never seen him with a handgun.
Despite that alleged lie, Willis was later charged with Bletsch’s murder.
Last week, in a follow-up interview, Bluhm admitted he had seen Willis last month and that Willis that day “showed Bluhm a 22-calibur pistol,” according to the documents.
The affidavit mentions nothing about the disappearance of Heeringa. Heeringa, then 25, went missing on the night of April 26, 2013, from her job at the Exxon Mobil gas station on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores. Willis is a person of interest in that case, but police have said they haven’t yet been able to find any evidence tying him to it.
Bluhm was arraigned Monday in Muskegon District Court on one count of lying to a police officer/violent crime investigation. His bond was set at $15,000. He’s expected to be back in court for a probable cause hearing on June 28 and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 5.
He could not be reached for comment Monday. His family members declined to comment.
In addition to the charges he faces for Bletsch’s murder, Willis is charged with kidnapping and assault for the attempted abduction of the teen girl, and with several counts connected to the creation and possession of child pornography.