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Kidnapping Survivor Speaks Out and Gives Hope to the Heeringa Family

Posted at 11:27 PM, May 07, 2013

NORTON SHORES, Mich.- Jessica Holmes shares more than just a name with missing 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa.

Holmes sat down with Fox 17 to tell the story of her abduction.  She tells us, “I was studying abroad in the Dominican Republic and I was with a friend and we were kidnapped by three men at gunpoint.”

That abduction in 2004 still haunts her, she says she can only imagined what happened the night Jessica Heeringa disappeared.  Holmes says, “It just really took me back to what happened to me and how scary it was and just feeling really alone, that those people had me at that time, so I can’t even imagine what she was going through.”

As the fear of an abductor living amongst us lingers over our West Michigan, Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw advises, “Know some type of self-defense, carry pepper spray or mace. You can also just carry your keys if you’re walking to your car at night – put your keys between your fingers and use that as a weapon.”

First and foremost, Chief Shaw says to do absolutely everything you can to not be taken to a second location.  Jessica Holmes was abducted by men in a car, posing as a cab.  Once she and her friend were inside, it was too late.

She recalls that terrifying day, “The person in the front seat had a gun and he was turned around with a gun pointed at me.  My friend was sitting in the middle seat and then there was another gentlemen there who had a gun held to her and was pushing us down.”

Holmes says she said a prayer and remained calm, convincing the abductors her friend who was having an asthma attack was going to die if they didn’t let them go.  It worked and the kidnappers let them out of the car.

Nine years later, Jessica Holmes is engaged and an advocate against violence towards women.  She has this message for the Heeringa Family, “Don’t give up hope that – to me, I think that she’s still alive and she just needs you to be there for her and try to find her.”