MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Jurors Tuesday heard from the teenager whose attempted abduction led investigators to the man now charged with murdering Rebekah Bletsch and Jessica Heeringa.

Jeffrey Willis, 47, listened as the girl known only as “MJN” recounted her experience during the morning of April 16, 2016.

>>Inside Complete coverage of the Jeffrey Willis investigation | Blog: Day 3 of testimony in Willis trial

The 17-year-old said she was walking home after a night of partying when a silver van pulled up from behind her and the male driver asked if she needed a lift.

MJN testified the driver told her she could use his cellphone if she got into the vehicle. When the teen got into the car, she said the driver rolled up the window, locked the door and told her she couldn’t use his flip phone because it was dead.

He began driving, only slowing down to reach under the seat and grab a gun, according to MJN. The teen said that was when she unlocked the door and jumped out.

MJN said when she looked behind her, she saw him standing with a gun pointed at her.

“I was running down the road and screaming for him please not to kill me and then after I was far from him he told me it was just a joke and he was just kidding. And then I ran to a stranger’s house,” she said.

That neighbor was Dawn Schmitt.

“’(She was) screaming help, help! He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!’” Schmitt recounted in court.

Schmitt said the girl didn’t have any shoes on, her hair was falling out, she had scrapes on her body and was hysterical.

“She was just a wreck and she was terrified,” Schmitt said. “She literally wanted to climb under the bed, she was terrified.”

MJN could be heard sobbing to a 911 dispatcher in a recording of the call from Schmitt’s home.

>>App users: Watch Tuesday morning’s testimony here.

Prosecutor D.J. Hilson showed photos of MJN’s injuries, as well as an acrylic nail found along the roadway, which MJN said was hers. The teen also identified the driver of the van as Jeffrey Willis.

During the cross-examination, MJN said she was never touched by the driver and he did not have a syringe. She also testified that she never met Rebekah Bletsch.

MJN also told defense attorney Fred Johnson while the gun the driver was holding had an orange tip, her previous testimony that the weapon looked like an Airsoft gun wasn’t accurate.

Every investigator the prosecutor questioned said they didn’t find any toy guns, fake guns or Airsoft guns during their search.


Jurors also heard for the first time about evidence discovered in Willis’ van, home and his grandfather’s home.

Sgt. Thomas Flowers of the Michigan State Police testified he found lockboxes in Willis’ minivan that contained two cameras, a diagram showing what appeared to be injection points on a female body, sex toys, an empty prescription bottle, photos, two papers with names and addresses, latex gloves, a Walther P-22 pistol, an orange cap, four syringes, what appeared to be an insulin vial, steel cable and a packet of Viagra.

Flowers said the vehicle also contained .22 caliber long rifle CCI brand cartridges; Deputy Jeff Blatmer previously testified he found a .22 caliber long rifle round that appeared to be CCI brand at the scene of the abduction attempt, along with shoes.

Flowers testified he found a fingerprint underneath the lid of the toolbox, which matched Willis’ right middle finger, and fingerprint on the typed list of names and addresses matched Willis’ right thumb.

Det. Sgt. Zachary Sparks said he found a handwritten list in the trash at Willis’ grandfather’s home that handwriting analysts matched to Willis.

Sparks said the note listed various items including “her panties,” cameras, tripods, gas, lube, crowbar, shirt, pants, underwear socks, shoes, hoodie, gas can, matches, lube, “video from house (if any),” ball gags, restraint bar, handcuffs, restraint board, toolbox, locks and keys, gloves, tape, washcloth, rubber gloves, vibrators, zip ties, needles, hook and rope.

Sparks said the four bottles of Clorox bleach and two containers of Tide detergent he found in Willis’ grandfather’s home were manufactured in 2013 and 2014, based on product codes deciphered by the companies.

>>Unmasked: The two faces of Jeffrey Willis

Sparks said the house didn’t smell of bleach, but he remarked that the bottles seemed unusual in such an “unkempt” house, which also didn’t have a washing machine at the time of his search.

Det. Chad Peterson detailed what detectives found on Willis’ property, including women’s underwear wrapped in tinfoil in a plastic bag in Willis’ shed.

Inside Willis’ house, Peterson said they found a gun inside a dresser draw in the master bedroom, a thumb drive and two external hard drives, including one inside an air vent.

However, Peterson conceded during cross-examination that syringes and a men’s red shirt they found appeared to be in a room used for storage. Peterson said he also learned later on that Willis’ then-wife was diabetic.

>>App users: Listen to the second half of Tuesday’s testimony here.


Det. Matt Schultz said a receipt for an oil change in Willis’ name dated the morning of the abduction attempt led him to question the Muskegon Township man.

Schultz testified Willis “bounced around a little bit and eventually he didn’t recall what he had been doing” when questioned about his whereabouts the day of the crime.

Schultz testified Willis first told him it had been a couple of months since he had an oil change, but his story changed when Schultz showed him the April 16, 2016 receipt from Van’s Car Wash and Quick Lube.

The investigator said Willis claimed he didn’t know where Weber Road was and he did not have a weapon in his van. However, Schultz confirmed Willis was questioned 30-45 days after the abduction attempt.


Jurors also heard from a secret service analyst who explained how he whittled down the search for the silver minivan MJN described following the April 2016 abduction attempt, and a Michigan State Police expect who tracked Willis’ cellphone to the area of his grandfather’s home on Bailey Street the night of Jessica Heeringa’s disappearance.

MSP Sgt. James McDonald said he also reviewed cellphone tower records for Willis cellphone on June 29, 2014 – the day Rebekah Bletsch was shot and killed, but there were no phone records ” of value to the investigation” at that time.

McDonald said the lack of records indicates Willis’ phone was turned off or every app on the phone was shut off and Willis was not making or receiving calls or text messages.


Defense attorney Fred Johnson focused his questioning on the unknowns. He pointed out that investigators did not take all items from Willis’ minivan, which could’ve contained latent prints from Kevin Bluhm, whom the defense has been trying to pin for Bletsch’s murder.

He also asked every witness if Bletsch was ever mentioned during their investigation or experience – all said “no.”

Both Blatmer and Schultz also conceded that there is no way to determine the age of the round found at the scene of MJN’s attempted abduction.

Testimony in the Willis trial is expected to resume at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

>>App users: Interactive timeline of Willis investigation