MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — An audio recording of a phone call between accused killer and kidnapper Jeffrey Willis and an officer has been released – a call that took place just hours after Willis was arrested in connection to an April abduction attempt.

Norton Shores police say the first person Willis reached by phone while in the Muskegon County Jail was one of their own: Officer Shawn Stefanich. Prosecutors say after Willis called his wife dozens of times but failed to reach her, he called Stefanich.

Friday, 24 Hour News 8 obtained an audio recording of Willis’ May 17 phone conversation with Stefanich. Police say the pair had left messages for each other before finally connecting. Stefanich and Willis had maintained a long-time friendship up until Willis’ arrest.

During the phone call, Willis starts by urging Stefanich to reach Willis’ wife.

“Listen, I’ve been arrested. I’m down at the jail. And I need you to go get Char [Willis’ wife],” Willis told Stefanich on the call. “I need you to tell Char that she either needs to come down and – I don’t know what’s going on.”

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“And then I need you to go make sure Hank [Willis’ dog] is okay, I guess,” he continued. “Apparently, they’re at the house and in my van and all kinds of sh*t. So, um. Could you do that for me?”

During the phone call, Stefanich did not ask Willis why he was arrested. Norton Shores Police Chief Jon Gale says his officer assumed Willis had been arrested for a domestic situation, and did not know it was in connection to the attempted abduction of a 16-year-old girl in April. Stefanich would later learn investigators connected Willis to the murder of Rebekah Bletsch.

It’s also unclear if Willis knew why he was arrested at the time of the call – talking about that night’s work shift and even joking with Stefanich about finding an attorney.

“I don’t know what the hell to do. I have no idea what’s going on,” Willis tells Stefanich at one point.

Most of the conversation on Stefanich’s end surrounded the legal process following Willis’ arrest, including how long it could take to get out of jail.

Police added that Stefanich has been interviewed as part of the full Willis investigation – and that there is no indication of wrongdoing on his part. Prosecutors said that “implying any wrongdoing is reckless and irresponsible.”

Gale reiterated to 24 Hour News 8 that his officer didn’t have any information on the teen abduction attempt or Bletsch case at the time of the call. He added that though Willis is now being called a person of interest in the Jessica Heeringa case, Stefanich did not have any information about the investigation that hasn’t already been made public.

Gale also said Stefanich has cut off all contact with Willis since the initial phone call, and that Stefanich is “deeply disturbed about these allegations.”

24 Hour News 8’s first request for this recording was denied by Muskegon County citing privacy concerns. However, 24 Hour News 8 appealed that denial, leading to Friday’s release.

Prosecutors said a portion of the phone call, which was only a few minutes in length, was redacted because of a third-party medical condition.

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