Police Still Chasing Leads Nearly 1 Year After Gas Station Clerk Vanished
NORTON SHORES (WWJ/AP) - Police investigating the disappearance of a mother from her job at a western Michigan gas station nearly 11 months ago are actively following up on leads, tips and other information in the case, officials said.
Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw gave an update earlier this week on the search for Jessica Heeringa, saying the case is the department’s “top priority.” A reward for information is more than $15,000.
“We are still receiving information on a daily basis regarding this case,” Shaw told The Muskegon Chronicle. “Unfortunately, most of this information is based on rumor or conjecture, not based on direct witness accounts or actionable intelligence.”
Former members of a task force that was formed to pursue the case after Heeringa vanished continue to work together, Shaw said. The task force included police in Muskegon, the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department, state police and federal officials.
“Members of the former task force have met on several occasions to review information received and the investigative reports compiled since it was disbanded to help ensure a comprehensive review has been conducted,” Shaw said.
Heeringa disappeared April 26, 2013 before she was set to close the station in Norton Shores. Police said there was no indication of a robbery, as Heeringa’s purse, vehicle and other items were left behind at the scene, including hundreds of dollars in cash. DNA testing showed a small amount of blood found outside the gas station belonged to Heeringa.
After her disappearance, investigators released a description of a silver minivan and a man seen in the area.
“It is still unknown for certain that the silver Chrysler Town and Country mini-van is involved,” Shaw told the Chronicle. “However, based on the fact the driver has not been identified and the van’s departure from the Exxon store is within the timeline of Jessica’s disappearance, investigators still believe it may be involved.”
Heeringa, who has a young son, was 25-years-old at the time of her disappearance. The gas station had no security cameras, leaving authorities without potential clues.
“We are still operating under the belief that Jessica was abducted against her will, possibly by a person whom she knew — either a customer, acquaintance or friend,” Shaw said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 231-733-2691 or 911.
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