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Crime & Courts

Missing Michigan woman's mother had fears about daughter working late shift

A missing Michigan woman's mother says she was concerned about her daughter being the sole employee during the late-night shift at the gas station where she worked.

“She said, ‘Mom, don’t worry. I can handle anybody,’” Shelly Heeringa told after 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa disappeared Friday night around 11:15 p.m. at the ExxonMobil station where she worked in Norton Shores, near Muskegon.

Her purse, belongings and vehicle were left behind, and police were notified after a customer called 911 and said no employees were at the station, Fox 17 reports. There were no security cameras operating at the time of her disappearance, Norton Shores police say, and authorities are investigating the case as an abduction.

Shelly Heeringa believes someone “lured [Jessica] out the back and shoved her in the back of the van,” but could not recall any incidents with people that could have led to her disappearance.

“She’s a good mom. She loves her family…she wouldn’t just leave,” April Dyer, Heeringa’s future sister-in-law, told Fox 17. Jessica Heeringa has a 3-year-old child, and Dyer said her fiancé is distraught.

But Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw said there’s a chance Jessica Heeringa may know her abductor.

“As a store clerk, she has contact with a lot of people,” Shaw said. "Most of the people who have talked to us so far have indicated that she’s a very pleasant person – very sociable – so she engages in conversation with all of her customers, so it’s very possible that she may have known this person.”

Norton Shores Police also said Sunday that they are searching for a silver Chrysler minivan driven by a white male, between 30 and 40 years old and described to be 6 feet tall, with a medium to heavy build and light brown or sandy blonde hair.

To assist in the search, Heeringa’s family will be handing out fliers -- containing information about Jessica -- at the parking lot behind the gas station Monday beginning at 10 a.m., Fox 17 reports.

Shelly Heeringa went door to door in Norton Shores Sunday night passing and posting the fliers.

Authorities encourage anyone with information on Jessica Heeringa’s whereabouts to call Muskegon’s Silent Observer phone line at 231-722-CRIME, or the Norton Shores Police Department at 231-733-2691.

Click for more from Fox 17.

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