Newly obtained documents reveal more details in Heeringa case

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 18:47:35-04

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- Newly obtained documents shed more light on the investigation into suspect Jeffrey Willis. He’s charged in the murder of Muskegon County jogger Rebecca Bletsch, and he's a suspect in the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa.

FOX 17 obtained documents from the Michigan State Police through the Freedom of Information Act.

A Michigan State Police incident report written in May 2016 explicitly states, "Investigators believe Jessica was murdered by Jeffrey Willis, but her body has not been located to date." The report was written days after Willis' arrest for the attempted kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl in northern Muskegon County.

A report from April 2013 (when Heeringa vanished) states in February 2013, a Kmart cashier who was friends with Heeringa noticed a man with her in the store. But on her next visit, Heeringa told the cashier the two weren't shopping together. But she said he was a regular customer at the Exxon station where she worked.

The cashier feared the man may have been stalking Heeringa.

Records also show Willis was friends with a Norton Shores police officer, and the two would snowmobile together on the officer's parent's property up north in Antrim County.  Willis has a key to the property. In May, police interviewed a woman named Brenda Devine in Antrim County who lives close by. She told detectives she believes she saw Jeffrey Willis on the neighbor's property at some point but wasn't sure when. Devine said her neighbor claims to have seen Willis leaving the property with a shovel, although she questioned her neighbor's credibility.

The report also states a cadaver dog searched the cabin and property but found nothing. Police also searched a well near the property. Other than snapping photos, the report states no evidence was gathered. Willis is currently in jail facing kidnapping and murder charges.