NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - The rescue of three women kidnapped a decade ago in Ohio is giving hope to Jessica Heeringa's family and the police searching for her.
Heeringa, 25, vanished from the gas station where she works on April 26. Police say she was abducted and a task force has been been searching for her for 11 days.
In that 11th day, three women were rescued in Cleveland and reunited with their families 10 years after they were abducted. One of the three managed to escape from a home where they were being held, get help from a neighbor and call 911.
Heeringa's grandmother Diane Homrich said she watched that story on TV Tuesday morning and immediately thought of her granddaughter.
"Hopefully the same thing can happen to Jessie, that she can get away and somehow contact us or contact somebody," Homrich said. "It gives us hope that she's still out there, and she's trying to survive. And maybe it won't happen, maybe not even this year. But it still gives us hope that she will come back to us and that she's still alive."
Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw said he also watched the story on TV just before heading into a task force meeting on Heeringa's case.
"The first thing I thought of was, 'That will be us soon, bringing Jessica home to her family,'" Shaw said. "We'll find her first, bring her to her family and then we're going to prosecute the person who took her."
Heeringa's family has maintained a daily vigil near the Sternberg Road Exxon Mobil from which she disappeared, handing out flyers and selling T-shirts to raise money for a Jessica Heeringa fund.
Tuesday, workers at a credit union contributed $500.
"It's just amazing; I just find it amazing," Homrich said. "It keeps us focused. And I said it's like she's a daughter of this community."
Donations to the Jessica Heeringa reward fund 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".
If you have a tip, please call Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME (27463) or Norton Shores PD at 231-733-2691.
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