Police say a small amount of blood that was found outside of a western Michigan gas station has been identified as belonging to a young mother who vanished from her job as a night clerk there last month.
Norton Shore police Chief Daniel Shaw said in a statement Wednesday that investigators found "a small amount of blood" at a location "outside of the Exxon Mobil station," and a DNA test confirmed it belonged to 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa.
Heeringa disappeared April 26 before she was set to close the station in Norton Shores, near Muskegon. Her purse was found in the station and the cash register was untouched.
Heeringa's grandmother Diane Homrich tells Fox 17 the family was hoping the blood found would lead to the identification of a suspect, but still sees it as a good sign. She says she feels the blood demonstrates Heeringa did not go without a fight.
“It still tells us that she fought him, that whatever injuries she had that it was not mortal and that gives us a lot of hope,” Homrich told Fox 17.
Police have released footage of a gray minivan that is believed to be related to Heeringa's disappearance, and its driver, who is described as a white man, age 30 to 40, about 6 feet tall, with light brown wavy hair. The description is from witnesses who saw the van parked near the station and driving away.
Homrich says Heeringa's disappearance has been taken a toll on her family, especially her young son.
“I know a hard time for him is when he has to go to bed because Jessie always had a certain little ditty she sang to him and now he wants to know where his mom is so she can sing to him," Hormich told Fox 17. "So I think he’s becoming aware that mom has been gone a long time and doesn’t understand what’s going on."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.