Jessica Heeringa's Abduction Case Centered Around Van Caught On Surveillance

3:31 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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Norton Shores, MI-- Authorities investigating the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, a 25-year-old Michigan mother who vanished from the gas station where she worked Friday night, are focusing on a van caught on surveillance video traveling away from the scene of the alleged abduction, MLive reports.

Video surveillance taken from the Old Homestead Tavern in Norton Shores, Mich., which is a mile north of the Exxon Mobil station where Heeringa was working the night shift, shows a gray- or silver-colored van traveling northbound on Grand Haven Road, according to the news website.

Authorities hope the release of the surveillance video will help lead to an identification of the driver, who was reportedly seen parked near the station and driving away. Witnesses have described the driver as a white man, age 30 to 40, about 6 feet tall, with light brown wavy hair.

"We believe that this is the van that witnesses have described as being at the Exxon station at the time of Jessica's abduction," said Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw in an e-mail to MLive.

Heeringa disappeared Friday, April 26 around 11 p.m., shortly before the young mother was set to close the gas station. The station didn't have a security camera and there were no signs of a struggle or robbery, though police are treating the case as an abduction.

A man trying to buy gas called police at around 11:15 p.m. Friday after finding the gas station open but no employees around.

"There's nobody here," Craig Harpster, 54, told a 911 operator in a recorded conversation authorities released Monday. "I hollered, 'Hey,' walked around the building. ... It just seems strange."

Investigators later found Herringa's purse and other personal belongings in the station, and the cash register untouched. Police described Herringa as 5-foot-1 and about 110 pounds.

Police have reportedly interviewed relatives, friends and other people associated with the missing mother. However, they are not concerned about their activities during the night in question.

"The family believes that Jessica more than likely left to help [someone] in some way," Police Chief Shaw said. "Their believe is that someone that she's either acquainted with or someone she was trying to help lured her out."

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