NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - Authorities searched PJ Hoffmaster State Park Thursday as part of their investigation into the abduction of Norton Shores mother Jessica Heeringa, but came up with nothing.
Heeringa, 25, was abducted from the Sternberg Road Exxon Mobil between 10:51 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. April 26, police say. Police have been trying to find her ever since.
Police started searching the park, which is in southwest Norton Shores, at 5 p.m.
"We are going to clear some wooded areas with the canines, just to see if there might be any evidence of the search for Jessica or anything that might be of interest to the investigators," a Michigan State Police trooper said.
An MSP K9 unit and helicopter where brought in and part of the park was closed.
"This is nothing huge," Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw said. "It might not be anything."
Shaw said the search was in response to a tip of shots fired on Saturday morning between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. and a reported sighting of a minivan similar to the one in which police believe Heeringa was abducted.
Police believed the tip was credible, but were also aware that it could have been hunters.
"Saturday was opening day of turkey hunting season and hunting is allowed in the southern part of Norton Shores, so initially that didn't sound like it was too alarming," Shaw said.
Resources were available, so the search was organized as a precaution.
"We have no information connecting the gun shots to the Jessica Heeringa case, but we have organized an aerial and ground search of the area," Shaw wrote in an email.
Authorities cleared the scene around 7:45 p.m. without recovering anything.
"We didn't come up with anything," an MSP trooper said.
When 24 Hour News 8 arrived at the park before police started searching, a man showed our crew a pair of glasses he found in the park that are similar to those Heeringa has been seen wearing in photos. 24 Hour News 8 sent a photo of the glasses to police and led investigators to where they were found.
But Shaw said the glasses do not belong to Heeringa.
"The fiance Dakotah often works on the glasses because they break often and so he's the one that ruled them out; 'No those are not hers, I work on them all the time.' Also her sister looked at them as well and said, 'No those are not her glasses,'" Shaw said.
The man who found the glasses, Fred Ploughman, said he found them around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Thursday, he returned to turn the glasses over to the DNR to be held for investigators.
"I am hopeful, I am so hoping that they are not hers and that we are going to find her and bring her home safe," Shaw said before the glasses were determined to not belong to Heeringa.
Shaw said earlier Thursday his officers had searched the half-mile radius around the Exxon Mobile station, but outside of that, they didn't have any leads on a specific area to search. Conducting ground searches further out was a difficult process, according to Shaw, because police had to obtain permission to search private property or draw up search warrants.
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