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NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - A crowd of more than a hundred people gathered Tuesday evening to pray for Jessica Heeringa, the Norton Shores mother who disappeared late last week.
Heeringa, 25, vanished from the Sternberg Road Exxon Mobil where she worked between 10:50 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. April 26. Her purse and car were left behind. Two days later, police said they thought she had been abducted. Since then, a police task force has been running down tips and looking for any sign of Heeringa as family and volunteers have passed out flyers with her photo on them.
Tuesday at 6 p.m., a crowd gathered at the Pointes Mall Plaza on Sternberg Road, not far from the gas station from which Heeringa disappeared. They prayed that Heeringa will return home safely. Many cried and some were frustrated, but they have refused to lose hope.
"I'm hoping that if there's power in prayer that it really works tonight and brings her back to us," said mother Shelly Heeringa.
Family members wore T-shirts bearing Heeringa's photo.
"People that don't even know her have come up to me and wanting to just give you a hug and let you know that Jessie is in their prayers and hoping that she comes back," Jessica's mother Shelly Heeringa said.
Angel Allred said the vigil was one more part of the effort to bring awareness to her younger sister's disappearance and encourage any witnesses to come forward.
"Keep fighting. Keep fighting, sister. We're coming for you. We're going to get you no matter what," Allred said to her sister.
Allred also expressed the family's appreciation of the support from the community.
"Thank you, because we've had so many people from the community coming out," she said. "It's just been amazing."
Family has stressed that even the smallest details are important and hopes people will call in more tips.
Allred said Heeringa's son is staying with his grandparents and is doing well.
The 3-year-old boy's father Dakota Quail-Dyer -- also Heeringa's fiance -- said his son is too young to understand why his mother hasn't come home.
"He thinks she's at work," Quail-Dyer said. "It's been very tough to be there for him and be here at the same time."
Shelly Heeringa has harsh words for whoever is responsible for her daughter's disappearance.
"He's a monster," she said.
"Monsters don't care," Quail-Dyer added.
But Shelly Heeringa, Allred and Quail-Dyer pleaded with the person who took Heeringa to let her go.
Police are looking for the driver of a silver or grey minivan -- possibly a Chryler Town and Country. He is described as a heavy-set, white man between 30 and 40 years old, and having broad shoulders, and light brown, wavy hair parted in the middle and longer on top. He may have also been wearing a bright red or orange sweatshirt.
Heeringa is 5' 1'' and about 110 pounds. She has blonde, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes. She has wire-rimmed glasses but may not be wearing them. She may also be wearing a blue collared shirt that says Sternberg Exxon.
If you have any information about Heeringa's disappearance, call Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME (27463), 911 or the Norton Shores Police Department at 231.733.2691.
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