Heeringa family holding hope 5 years after disappearance

Jeffrey Willis Investigation

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) — It has been five years since Jessica Heeringa disappeared from a Norton Shores gas station. She hasn’t been seen since, but investigators and prosecutors believe that she was murdered by Jeffrey Willis.

Willis will stand trial for Heeringa’s kidnapping and murder next week.

On Friday, a post on the “Find Jessica Heeringa” Facebook page appearing to be from Heeringa’s mom said, “I will never quit looking for my daughter, the police have, let’s make this the year, Jes comes home. she is alive she is out there….” 

The Norton Shores Police Department says they haven’t stopped searching despite the charges. 

Willis was arrested when a teen who was abducted identified him. A search of his car revealed a gun that is linked to the cover of the laser found at the back of the gas station and to the murder of Rebekah Bletsch. 

“It’s really all about bringing at least the criminal aspect of this case to an end,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.

Hilson is getting ready for the trial, but he says there won’t be any bombshells because all the evidence has been made public.

It’s unclear if the Heeringa family will attend the trial because they don’t feel there is enough evidence to show Willis killed Heeringa. Hilson says that won’t affect the trial.

“At the end of the day it’s the evidence that the jury considers not who is sitting in the courtroom,” he said.

Heeringa was 25 years-old when she disappeared. Her car, purse and cigarettes were left behind along with her blood. A blood stain was found outside the back of the gas station near a battery cover to a laser sight for a gun.

“Closure for me is two things, one conviction and finding Jessica Heeringa,” said Hilson.

Jury selection begins on Tuesday and is expected to last all week. The trial will start once the jury is seated.

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