Jessica Heeringa Murder – After the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, an employee at a gas station in Michigan, in April 2013, unrest and mystery rocked Michigan as people wondered about the cause of her disappearance based on indications at her last known location. The public remains captivated by this case due to its somber circumstances. Although her loved ones have found some closure, numerous questions still linger regarding the final moments of her life.
Investigation Discovery’s series ‘Disappeared’ season 7 Episode 1, “Somebody’s Watching,” shed light on this perplexing issue. This episode delves deep into the events that led to Jessica’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation. We aim to help identify those responsible and share any recent advancements to solve her tragedy.
Jessica Heeringa Murder Plot Story
On April 26, 2013, Jessica Lynn Heeringa went missing while working her late shift at an Exxon station in Norton Shores, Michigan. The last recorded use of her name was at 10:55 that evening. Investigators have pieced together what might have occurred using clues provided by the purchase of a cigarette lighter on that evening.
Around 11:15 PM, Craig Harpster arrived at the gas station for a refill and discovered Jessica was missing. Trying unsuccessfully to borrow money, he noticed something amiss and quickly dialed 911. Law enforcement arrived within 15 minutes with warrants in hand for possible attempted robbery. However, further examination revealed both her belongings and cash register were present as expected.
Authorities found Jessica’s belongings and blood-spattered components of potential weapons in the station office. An hour-long search assisted by a police canine yielded no significant leads after an hour-long investigation. Jessica’s remains remain unknown, although tests and inquiries suggest her disappearance likely led to her untimely demise.
Jessica was the mother of 3-year-old Zevyn at the time of her disappearance. This fact underscores the profound effects her absence would have on her family and loved ones.
Investigation and Arrest
Several potential motives can explain Jessica Heeringa’s disappearance. One theory involves an individual observing her engaging in flirtatious behavior at her workplace, including interactions at a gas station frequented by an individual who noticed Jessica acting strangely the night before. This witness mentioned an interaction in which Jessica engaged with another male. The individual thought this male may have attempted to initiate romantic advances upon her, but she did not reciprocate. Her interactions with him did not become excessively friendly either.
Concerned about this encounter, the witness remained outside the gas station until closing and saw Jessica leave without incident. Furthermore, an unfamiliar man acted suspiciously around 11 pm by repeatedly opening and closing his silver minivan’s door. Security cameras then captured the minivan speeding off from the gas station.
Authorities had little success tracking Jessica until April 2016, when a significant breakthrough occurred. A 16-year-old girl in Muskegon County, Michigan, reported an attempted abduction by a stranger. After successfully fleeing, she recognized a minivan matching Jessica’s disappearance.
In December 2016, Jeffrey Willis was arrested for Jessica’s kidnapping and murder following this breakthrough. Evidence found on his computer pointed to his responsibility. This evidence included a folder labeled “vics” and another containing Jessica’s initials, along with photos from before and after her abduction. Furthermore, disturbing content related to necrophilia was found, deepening suspicion against him.
Kevin Bluhm played an integral role in this case, as his cousin Jeffrey Willis was a former prison guard. Bluhm faced charges for providing false information to police about Jessica’s disappearance. He later admitted to witnessing and participating in her burial. Bluhm revealed that Willis had invited him to a vacant house where Jessica appeared with head injuries, restrained by restraints, before engaging in sexual activities using sex toys. Afterward, she was buried near Sheridan Road.
These shocking developments paint an increasingly stark picture of Jessica Heeringa’s disappearance and subsequent investigation.
Prosecution of Jeffrey Willis and Kevin Bluhm
On May 16, 2018, a jury found Jeffrey Willis guilty of both the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Heeringa after a trial that began in May 2018. During the trial, the defense presented evidence supporting an alternative theory involving drug buyers using the minivan seen on the day of Jessica’s disappearance. However, this failed to sway the verdict, and Willis was found guilty on both charges. He received life imprisonment without parole for murdering Jessica and 18 to 40 years imprisonment for kidnapping.
On November 2, 2017, Jeffrey Willis faced another trial related to the murder of Rebekah Bletsch. He was found guilty and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He is serving his time at the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson County, Michigan, which operates as a maximum-security prison.
Kevin Bluhm was found guilty on charges of being an accessory to murder on November 27, 2017, as an accomplice who helped Willis hide Jessica’s body. Bluhm’s sentence was determined based on his time spent in Muskegon County Jail since September 20, 2016. As part of his probationary agreement with the court, Bluhm must wear a GPS tracking device for at least a year, as ordered by the judge. Even as late as January 2019, when Jessica Heeringa had still not been found, the court extended GPS monitoring. Bluhm currently lives in Muskegon County, and his probation will likely conclude by January 2023. These legal proceedings have resulted in justice being served for Jessica Heeringa’s tragic and sudden passing.