NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - As police worked the Jessica Heeringa case Thursday and some family members gathered at a makeshift command center, a 3-year-old boy played at a park.
He was there with his dad and his grandpa. He doesn't know that his mom is missing, the victim of what police are calling an abduction.
"We always go to the park," said his dad Dakotah Quail-Dyer, who is engaged to marry Jessica Heeringa. "He loves playing at the water, playing in nature. We go for hikes, just to be outside. He loves being outside. Jess loved being outside."
Their son's name is Zevyn, named by Jessica after a reality TV character. They call him Zev.
"It's Hebrew for wolf, which kind of fits his spunky personality," his dad said. "He loves howling at the moon."
Quail-Dyer is keeping him far from the cameras and from the Sternberg Road Exxon Mobil gas station where his mom was last seen on Friday. They have moved in with relatives, where Zev can play with lots of cousins.
At his dad's request, 24 Hour News 8 kept its camera far from Zevyn.
"I don't want him seeing any of the posters or the news," his dad said. "I've got it plastered all over my truck, but I park where he can't even see that."
So far, Zevyn doesn't know that anything is wrong or that there's a reason his mom has been gone going on a week.
But he's been asking: Where's mom?
"I always tell him she's at work," he said. "She'll be home later."
"Tomorrow?" Zev asks.
"Yep, she'll be home tomorrow, buddy."
His mom often works long hours at the Exxon, and dad usually stayed home with Zevyn.
A few days ago, after the abduction, dad and son were driving by the Exxon station. Usually, they stop there to visit Heeringa.
"He always pulled a crate over to try to help mom at the cash register," his dad said. "We drove by there a day or two after it happened. He wanted to stop in and see mom. I said, 'No, mom's real busy.'"
He knows that the questions will keep coming and, that one of these days, he'll have to answer.
"That's something he can know about later, you know? I think if he doesn't need to know, he doesn't need to know."
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