NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - The grandmother of Jessica Heeringa, who police say was abducted Friday night from a Norton Shores gas station, said her granddaughter is the kind of person always willing to help anyone -- even a stranger.
Jessica Heeringa, 25, disappeared between 10:50 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. Friday from the Exxon Mobil on Norton Shores where she works. Her purse and car were left behind and there was no money stolen from the gas station money drawer, even though it was open. Police say they think someone abducted her.
Photos: The Search for Jessica
Grandmother Diane Homrich said Jessica's helpful nature may have led to her disappearance.
"So many people have stopped by and said, 'Oh, I just love going in and talking to her,'" said Homrich.
Homrich called Jessica "feisty" and said working night alone at the gas station didn't bother her at all, even though there were no security cameras there.
"Typical of a lot of young ladies in this day and age. They all think they can take care of themselves," said Homrich.
The youngest of three sisters, Jessica grew up in the Grand Rapids area. She moved to Muskegon with her mother and the rest of her family after getting her high school diploma. It was the perfect place for a family who loved to be by the water.
She and her fiancé have a son.
"Of course she named him Zeven, which is a name you'll never hear again, I'm sure, because she didn't want a common name," said Homrich. "She wanted a special name for him."
The job at the gas station allowed Jessica and her fiancé to avoid putting Zeven in daycare. Jessica worked nights, while he worked days.
Her grandmother said the job was also a good fit for Jessica, who she says is a people person.
"When I see so many people come here and say, 'Oh, I knew Jessica,' or even knew her just from work take the time to come over and offer to help, I think is a sign of what a neat young lady she was," said Homrich.
Family members now worry her personality may have contributed to her possible abduction.
"It wouldn't doubt me if somebody came in and had car trouble and she went out in back to see if she could help possibly, and maybe then he grabbed her and threw her in the van," Homrich said.
Homrich said no matter what, Jessica's friends and family are not giving up hope that she'll be found alive and well. They are convinced someone saw something Friday night -- and authorities agree there may be a witness who doesn't even realize they saw something useful.
Police are searching for a silver minivan, possibly a Chrysler Town & Country, that was spotted in the area around the time of the abduction. They would like to speak to its driver, 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.
Jessica Heeringa is 25 years old, 5-foot-1, and 110 pounds. She has blonde, shoulder-length hair and blue eyes. She has wire-rimmed glasses but may not be wearing them. She may be wearing a blue collared shirt that says Sternberg Exxon.
Anyone who saw anything out of the ordinary Friday night is asked to contact Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME (27463), 911 or the Norton Shores Police Department at 231.733.2691.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Tuesday evening to pray for Heeringa's safe return, according to the Find Jessica Heeringa Facebook page. It will be held at 6 p.m. at the Points Mall on Sternberg not far from the Exxon.
A reward program has been established to aid in the investigation into the abduction of Jessica Heeringa.
Donations should be made by check or money order to the order of: Muskegon Community Foundation C/O Silent Observer
Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at:
Norton Shores Police Department
4814 S. Henry Street
Norton Shores MI 49441
Donations may be made directly to Silent Observer. If you would like your donation returned if not used, it should be marked "Reward for Jessica".
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