MUSKEGON (WWJ/AP) – A court document shows that the cousin of a man charged in the slaying of a 25-year-old western Michigan gas station clerk initially told investigators he helped bury her body.
The document released Wednesday reveals Kevin Bluhm’s statements to police helped lead to murder and kidnapping charges against Jeffrey Willis.
Jessica Heeringa disappeared April 26, 2013, from Norton Shores, near Muskegon. Her body hasn’t been found.
The document says Bluhm told police that the next day he saw a woman bound in a Norton Shores home and helped to bury her.
Bluhm later told police he had lied. He is charged with being an accessory after the fact.
Telephone and credit card records show Willis had been at the gas station. Willis also is charged in a separate murder case.
“This individual, Mr. Willis, is a monster,” Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson said. “He certainly is an individual I wouldn’t let any of my children around, much less any female around. What his total motivation was, that’s only for him to say. Ultimately, I think this was part of who he was as a person.”
Willis was named a person of interest in Heeringa’s disappearance back in May. Investigators have said his van resembles a vehicle seen by witnesses parked behind the gas station on the night Heeringa went missing. Hilson said Willis’ van was even searched in the days following Heeringa’s disappearance, but “there was nothing at that point in time to suggest at all that he was involved in any criminal activity.”
When Willis’ van was searched again following his arrest in May in an unrelated case, investigators found a pistol, ammunition, syringes with liquid, a ball gag, chains, a mask and a bar with wrist restraints inside the vehicle. Child pornography and videos of bound women were also found in his home.
Separately, Willis is also charged with abducting a 16-year-old girl in April and the 2014 slaying of 36-year-old jogger Rebekah Bletsch in Dalton Township.
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