Real Name: Jessica Lynn Heeringa
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Norton Shores, Michigan
Date: April 26, 2013
Occupation: Gas Station Clerk
Date of Birth: July 16, 1987
Weight: 105 pounds
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian female with Sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Jessica has various tattoos over her body (a sun and moon on her right calf, sleeping Z's on her left foot, a star on her back and a musical note and a peace sign on her left ankle). Jessica wears eyeglasses.
Details: Twenty-five-year-old Jessica Heeringa was a single mother raising her three-year-old son. She had hoped to go back to college to study accounting. In order to provide for her son, she worked as a clerk at the Exxon Mobile station on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores, Michigan. She normally worked the night shift. The station normally closed at 11:30pm. On Friday, April 26, 2013, she was abducted from the station while working the evening shift. Her last known sale was at 10:54pm; a customer discovered the store abandoned at 11:07pm.
The police were called at 11:15pm. When they arrived, they found her cigarettes and lighter next to the cash register. Her car was left behind. No money or any of her belongings were taken from the store. A small amount of blood was found outside the back door. It was later determined to be hers. However, the amount was too small to be from a fatal wound.
The gas station manager came forward and said that on the night of the abduction, she and her husband were driving nearby and had noticed a minivan pulled up right next to the back door of the store. Its hatch was open and the driver tried to close it. Something was in its way, so he opened it again, moved the object, and closed it. He then either headed into Muskegon or hopped on the expressway 96 and headed out of town.
Unfortunately, there were no surveillance cameras at the gas station, so none of the events of that night were recorded. Jessica also worked by herself, which may have led to her being a target. Another witness reported seeing a man flirting with Jessica before she disappeared. He has never been identified and the case remains unsolved.
Suspects: An unidentified man was seen near the back of the gas station shortly before Jessica was abducted. The possible suspect is described as a Caucasian male in his thirties, approximately 6'0", with a medium to heavy build and brown or sandy blond hair. He was seen driving a silver minivan, possibly a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. It was seen on a surveillance video about a mile away from the station at around 11:04pm.
- This case was uploaded to the Unsolved Mysteries website on April 24, 2015.
- The person interviewed in the video is Jessica's mother, Shelly.
- It also profiled on Disappeared.
Results: Unresolved. In April 2016, forty-six-year-old Jeffrey Willis was arrested for attempting to abduct a sixteen-year-old girl. In May, he was also charged with the 2014 murder of Rebekah Bletsch after ballistics evidence connected him to the crime. Authorities also identified him as a person of interest in Jessica's disappearance since he owned a silver minivan similar to the one that was believed to have been driven by her abductor. In his van were several incriminating items, including: rope, leather restraints, chains with handcuffs, insulin, and syringes. He had the van detailed shortly after her disappearance. He also matched the witness's description of the suspect, down to the "blond-streaked hair". He had apparently frequented the gas station that she vanished from. Finally, in September 2016, he was charged with her kidnapping and murder.
Based on credit card receipts, investigators discovered that Willis had visited the store at least fifteen times prior to Jessica's abduction. A witness reported seeing him talking to Jessica there the day before her abduction. Phone records also placed him there just hours before it. When questioned, he told police that he was home at the time. However, phone records (which included a phone call from his wife, who he was supposedly at home with) placed him near his grandfather’s house, which is close to the store. Following the abduction, he did not show up for work for several days.
Near the spot of blood behind the store, investigators found pieces of a laser sight for a Walther P22 handgun. A Walther P22 was found in Willis’ van; it happened to be missing those same pieces. Its original owner identified the laser sight as belonging to the gun. The gun was also determined to be the murder weapon in Rebekah's case. Investigators also found a folder labeled "VICS" on Willis’ computer. In it were sub-folders about Rebekah and Jessica. He also changed his passwords to "J4L27H13" which includes her initials and the day after her disappearance (in number form).
Finally, Willis’ cousin, Kevin Bluhm, confessed to police that he had seen Jessica’s body in the basement of their grandfather’s house. He also claimed that he helped Willis dispose of it. Furthermore, he stated that Willis had been following her, and that on the night of her abduction, he attacked and hit her, knocking her unconscious. He then put her in his van and took her to the house. For unknown reasons, Bluhm later recanted his statement, but pleaded no contest to helping dispose of her body. When police went to the house, they found that Willis had padlocked it. In the basement, they found several bottles of bleach.
In May 2018, Willis went on trial for Jessica’s kidnapping and murder. His defense attorneys claimed that she was either still alive or had died of a drug overdose after meeting with her drug dealer. The jury took just two hours to find him guilty on May 16; he was given a second mandatory life sentence (the first was for Rebekah's murder). In December 2019, his conviction was upheld. Sadly, Jessica's body has never been found. Because of this, her family believes that she is still alive.
- Jessica Heeringa on Unsolved.com
- Find Jessica Heeringa Facebook Page
- Jessica Heeringa on Wikipedia
- Jessica Heeringa on The Charley Project
- Jessica Heeringa's story to be highlighted on 'Unsolved Mysteries' show online - April 24, 2015
- New lead triggers search for body of Jessica Heeringa - June 17, 2016
- Prosecutor: "Monster" charged in killing of still-missing Michigan woman - September 20, 2016
- Willis’ phone records, cousin’s interview lead to charges in Heeringa murder - September 21, 2016
- Police: Phone records, gun tie Willis to Heeringa - September 21, 2016
- Jeffrey Willis showed up at Jessica Heeringa's work night before alleged murder - September 21, 2016
- One year later: How investigators broke the Jeffrey Willis case - April 14, 2017
- Jeffrey Willis goes on trial for Jessica Heeringa's murder, abduction - April 30, 2018
- Hairstylist: Willis changed the year Heeringa disappeared - May 10, 2018
- Jeffrey Willis trial: Night Heeringa disappeared clearly a 'bad situation' - May 15, 2018
- Jurors hear defense’s theories in Heeringa trial - May 16, 2018
- Jeffrey Willis found guilty of kidnapping, murdering Jessica Heeringa - May 16, 2018
- Jeffrey Willis guilty of murdering Jessica Heeringa - May 16, 2018
- Jeffrey Willis again sentenced to life in prison, this time in death of Jessica Heeringa - June 18, 2018
- Court upholds conviction in Jessica Heeringa kidnapping and murder - December 27, 2019