Jessica Heeringa (Photo via MLive.com)
Shelly Heeringa never liked her 25-year-old daughter working the late-night shift at an Exxon Mobile gas station in Michigan. Now it appears her worst nightmare has come true as Jessica Heeringa of Norton Shores went missing Friday 15 minutes before her shift was set to end.
According to MLive.com, police responded to a 911 call from customers saying there were no employees present at the store around 11:15 p.m. Authorities described the scene as showing no appearance of a struggle or attempted robbery. Heeringa's purse, car keys and personal belongings were still in the store. Nothing was taken from the cash register either.
Given the time the call came in and other tips that have since been gathered by police, they believe Heeringa was likely cleaning in preparation to close the station. There were no surveillance cameras on site.
Police have said they are receiving tips from around the country regarding the case. Watch this report on the search from WZZM:
Heeringa's disappearance was even featured on Good Morning America:
Heeringa's family said the mother of a 3-year-old had a personality that could have lead her to be convinced to help someone seeming to be in need. Here's more from MLive reporting family's perspective:
Shelly Heeringa said she believes someone who came to the gas station regularly “lured (Jessica Heeringa) out the back and shoved her in the back of the van.”
“I’m sure she was abducted,” Shelly Heeringa said. “(There was) no struggle. She was cleaning a machine, she left her car keys, (and) no money was taken from the gas station.”
She added that she does not recall Jessica Heeringa complaining about any particular person or an incident that might have led to her missing. She does recall telling her daughter several times that she was concerned for her working late at night by herself.
“She said, ‘Mom, don’t worry. I can handle anybody,’” Shelly Heeringa recalled.
Jessica Heeringa’s grandmother, Diane Homrich, said Jessica was very friendly, outgoing and enjoyed talking to the customers.
“(She) figured maybe someone needed help,” Homrich said. “She would be the first one to help.”
Norton Shores Police Department told MLive that tips have led them on a search for a silver minivan, which was observed in the area by a passerby. The driver was described as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, around 6 feet tall with a medium to heavy built. His hair was light brown or sandy blonde and he was possibly wearing a red or orange sweatshirt.
Heeringa has blonde, shoulder-length hair, is 5 feet 1 inch, weighs 110 pounds and was wearing glasses. She could potentially also be wearing a her uniform shirt, which was collared, blue and has "Sternberg Exxon" stitched on it.
(Photo: Family, GMA)
“At this time four persons of interest have been interviewed and cleared in this disappearance,” Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw told MLive.
“She’s loved by everyone,” Shelley Heeringa said. “She has a 3-year-old boy who is missing his mom and wants her back.”
Tips related to the case can be sent to Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME (231-722-7463) or call 911.