NORTON SHORES (WWJ/AP) – Police investigating the disappearance a 25-year-old woman from her job at a western Michigan gas station nearly six months ago continue to press ahead on the investigation and hold out hope she will be found alive.
Jessica Heeringa disappeared April 26 before she was set to close the station in Norton Shores. Police think she was taken against her will by someone she likely knew. Police said there was no indication of a robbery, as Heeringa’s purse, vehicle and other items were left behind at the scene. DNA testing showed a small amount of blood found outside the gas station belonged to Heeringa.
Investigators have released a description of a silver minivan and a man seen in the area, and a task force has been working on the case.
“Obviously the odds are not in our favor at this point. Typically, the longer the time goes, the less likely there is for a successful outcome,” Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw, whose department is leading the investigation, told The Muskegon Chronicle.
“We hope to be on the outliers in that statistic and we hope to bring her home. But that’s not how we’re addressing the case,” Shaw added. “We keep telling ourselves every day that she is out there and we have to go find her.”
Investigators continue to conduct interviews and track tips, Shaw said. The reward for information in the case is more than $15,000.
Dakotah Quail-Dyer, Heeringa’s fiancé and the father of their 3-year-old son, Zevyn, said he has been keeping newspaper articles about the case for a scrapbook. He said he hopes to use it one day as a way to explain to his son what happened to his mother.
“Me and Zevyn are hanging in there, I guess,” Quail-Dyer said. “He’s really distraught. It’s becoming harder on him.”
Her family and friends have continued to hold out hope she will be found safe, but the passing weeks make it harder to stay positive, Quail-Dyer said.
“I always say I feel like she is coming home, but it’s been six months now. I didn’t think it would be this long,” he said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 231-733-2691 or 911.
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