NORTON SHORES, Mich. — The case of a West Michigan woman who has been missing almost three years will soon be gaining national attention once again. Jessica Heeringa disappeared in April of 2013. She will be featured on the show 'Disappeared' on Investigation Discovery.
Heeringa was 25 years old when she vanished from an Exxon Station in Norton Shores in 2013. She was working the late shift there alone at the time and her purse, money and car were left behind. Her case remains unsolved, but her grandmother says the attention is already bringing in new information.
"I think we are going to get people calling in again that have already called in with tips and hopefully it will generate something new" said Diane Homrich, Jessica's grandmother. "In fact, I had one this afternoon. I am not going to go into it, but it is a brand new person they have named. I will be calling Norton Shores Police Department and talk to Detective Kasher and share that information with him.
It is a new tip, maybe the first of many, that could possibly lead to something bigger.
"We are very hopeful" said Homrich. "We just wait for that one tip that might bring her home."
Almost three years have passed. Jessica is still missing and the family wants answers.
"The first two years were extremely busy with tips and and people asking questions and all that kind of stuff" said Homrich. "I think it has kind of died down over the last year. I posted about the television program on Facebook and I have had relatives call and say they thought the case was solved. I would tell them no it was not and ask why they would think that and they wouldn't know. They just thought it was solved. I said 'No, it is not solved'."
Over time, tips would come in. Some were helpful and some were not.
"On Facebook on our Find Jessica site there were some people that tried to get us to pay $40,000 to get her back" said Homrich. "This went on for several weeks. Finally, Norton Shores got the State Police involved and they would tell us that the person behind this actually lives in Russia and that it was a farce. That was an experience and a half."
In the meantime, Jessica's family waits and tries to keep their hope alive.
"We all still carry that hope" said Homrich. "There has never been anything to indicate that she is not alive. I know my daughter, Shelly, who is Jessica's mom and I both feel that if she had passed we would know it. We really feel that she is out there someplace."
The family has not seen the episode yet and plans to watch it together on Monday night. They also ask everyone to keep Jessica in their prayers and encourage anyone with any information to reach out to them. The family's personal tip line is (231)-222-0278. You can also view the Find Jessica Facebook page.