Suspect accused of kidnapping teen now charged with murdering jogger

Jeffrey Willis.

Jeffrey Willis.  (Fox 17)

A western Michigan man accused of abducting a 16-year-old girl last month has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a 36-year-old jogger in 2014, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Jeffrey Willis, 46, of Muskegon Township, is charged with open murder and using a firearm in a felony in the death of Rebekah Bletsch. He's also facing several child pornography charges, Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said.

"Today is still a sad day for many people, but is a happy day for law enforcement," Hilson told reporters.

Ballistics matched a handgun seized from Willis' minivan with bullets found in Bletsch's body and shell casings found at the scene of her death, according to investigators.

Willis had been under investigation in her death since he was charged in April with kidnapping and other crimes in an incident involving a 16-year-old girl in Muskegon County's Fruitland Township. She told investigators that she jumped out of Willis' van to escape.

A ball gag, chains, mask and a bar with wrist restraints were in a van owned by Willis, according to documents. A pistol, ammunition and syringes with liquid were also in the van, the documents said. Child pornography and videos of bound women were in his home.

Authorities also have said that Willis is being investigated in the 2013 disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, who was 25 years old when she went missing. On Wednesday, Hilson said he wouldn't take questions about that case.

Willis is being held on $1 million bond. The public defender's office, which is representing him, said it doesn't comment on pending cases.

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