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Episode 3

Jeffrey Willis

April 15, 2019   Tags: , , , , ,
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Jeffrey Willis is a convicted Michigan killer of two women. Before Willis' arrest in 2016, he didn't have many run-ins with the law until he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl. The 16-year-old accepted a ride from a stranger in a silver minivan so she could call her mom. Instead of allowing her to use the phone, a gun was pointed at her. She managed to jump from the silver minivan and run to a nearby house. Her 911 call from the house led to answers that loomed over the Muskegon, Michigan area for almost three years. 

Based on surveillance in the area and the 16-year-old girl's description, law enforcement arrested 46-year-old Jeffrey Willis. When they searched his silver 2006 Dodge Caravan, evidence piled up on two cases that had gone cold. The .22 caliber gun used to kill Rebekah Bletsch, a 36-year-old mother out for a jog, in June 2014 was found in the van. Also inside the van were handcuffs, ropes, chains, masks, rubber gloves, a ball gag, a bar with wrist restraints, and photos of females chained and bound.

Law enforcement then searched Willis' home and computer. On his computer police found a surplus of pornography and a "VICS" folder. Inside the "VICS" folder were two files: one for Rebekah Bletsch, the other for missing mother Jessica Heeringa who disappeared from the gas station she worked at on April 26, 2013. Jessica's folder held news clippings and pornography with a woman who resembled Jessica.

The district attorney chose to charge Willis with Bletsch's murder and Heeringa's kidnapping and murder. Jeffrey Willis was convicted and sentenced to life without parole in 2017 for the murder of Rebekah Bletsch. Roughly six months later in 2018, Willis was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa.


ASSIGNMENTS

Our first weekly assignment is to find Jessica Heeringa. The legal system found justice for Jessica, but she still remains missing. Her family and friends would like to know where she is.  Below are the details of her disappearance. If you think you may have information, no matter how small, please contact us.

The next assignment is the unsolved death of Angela Thornburg. Jeffrey Willis hasn't been charged with Angela Thornburg's death but there are several similarities in the case.

Lastly, if you know of or find any unsolved deaths in the Muskegon, Michigan, area you think could be related to Jeffrey Willis, please reach out. Willis was not arrested until he was 46 years old. The first crime he was convicted of happened three years before that. It is possible based on many different profiles of other killers that Willis' crimes began much earlier than that. When looking for possible related crimes you can use your sleuth skills on the internet or by specifically searching The Doe Network or The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs).


CODE OF CONDUCT:

1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police.
2. Do not contact any family members.
3. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want to the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to answers.

Jessica's Disappearance:

On the night of April 26th, 2013, 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa was working at the Exxon station on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores, Michigan. The last sale of the night-a cigarette lighter-happened at 10:55 PM. Around 11 PM, the manager of the store spotted a silver minivan outside the back of the store. Between 11:02-11:05 PM, three different business' surveillance cameras picked up footage of the minivan. At 11:10 PM a customer called 911 because no one was at the store.

Jessica left behind her purse, jacket, cigarettes, money and car. A drop of blood was found outside the back door of the store as well as pieces of a gun.

If you have any information on where Jessica may be, contact Norton Shores Police Department at 231-722-7463, contact us or the anonymous tip line monitored by her family at 231-222-0278.

Angela Thornburg's Death:

15-year-old Angela Thornburg was a freshman at Fruitport High School, the same high school Willis graduated from in 1988 when she went missing. On September 20, 1996, Angela Thornburg ran out the back door of her boyfriend's house when her mother arrived to pick her up. Initially she was ruled a runaway.

Almost a month later on October 17, 1996, Angela's body was found by a hunter. She was found partially clothed in the wooded area of I-96 and East Fruitport Road in Fruitport Township. Muskegon County Sheriff's Department stated there were sightings of Angela up to four days before she was found. The case was ruled probable homicide but no suspects have ever been arrested.
If you have any information on Angela's case, please contact us.