MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — As prosecutors announced that Jeffrey Willis would be charged with murdering Jessica Heeringa, Nick Winberg held a photo of his daughter — the other woman Willis allegedly killed.
Authorities say Willis shot and killed Winberg’s daughter, Rebekah Bletsch, as she jogged near her Dalton Township home in June 2014.
“I am happy that there’s resolution for that family,” Winberg said of the charges in Heeringa’s case. “Personally knowing all the pain that I’ve gone through and my family, I know they’ve gone through a mountain of pain and they will for a great while. And it’s good to know that this man that brutally murdered my daughter and their daughter is going to sit in a courtroom and he’s going to pay for his crimes.”
Winberg was front row during the press conference when prosecutors announced that Willis would be charged with kidnapping and murdering Heeringa, who vanished from a Norton Shores gas station in April 2013. In his hands were a Bible and a picture of his daughter with scriptures written on the back. He has taken them to every court appearance and press conference linked to the Willis case. His daughter is always on his mind, but his focus Tuesday was on the Heeringa family.
“I am absolutely elated that this is coming to an end for them,” Winberg said.
He has never met the Heeringa family, but said he has been praying for them.
“I’m glad to see my prayers have been answered,” Winberg said.
The Bletsch family and the Heeringa family are finally seeing someone pay for the lives they’ve lost, thanks to a very brave 16-year-old who managed to escape an attempted abduction in April of this year. The investigation into her case led police to arrest Willis.
“I’d say thank you (the 16-year-old) for what you’ve done in regards to my family and wish you all the best and a very long and happy life,” Winberg said. “I hope she can move on and just have contentment in her life.”
“Willis is a psychopathic murderer,” he added. “It’s sad that these kind of people are roaming around out there. It will be a good day when all of this is finally brought to a resolution.”
The Heeringa family was not at Tuesday’s press conference. The prosecutor said they do not wish to make any comments.