MUSKEGON, MICH. - Jeffrey Willis, 46, faces charges of open murder and kidnapping in connection with the disappearance of 25-year-old Jessica Heeringa.
Now, details from the newly released court transcripts help shed some more light on this tragic case.
Police found accessory parts of a Walther P22 gun at the Exxon where Heeringa worked. A witness told police that a white male approximately 5' 10" tall was behind the Exxon, with minivan lights off and his tailgate open.
When police investigated, Heeringa's wallet had $400 and money in the till, leading them to conclude it was not a robbery.
When police interviewed the cousin of Jeffrey Willis, Kevin Bluhm, he said he was asked by Willis to come by his grandfather's vacant home on Bailey Street, because, "there would be women there."
Bluhm then told police there was a nude woman, face down in the basement. He also told a detective he helped Willis, "get rid of the body."
Bluhm told detectives that Heeringa's body was placed in a hole that was already dug along Sheridan Drive.
According to Bluhm, Willis had been following and watching Heeringa for a period of time before her disappearance. Cell phone records place Willis at his grandfather's home after the alleged abduction.
Willis's credit card shows 15 to 16 transactions at the Exxon station. A detective also told the judge Willis was at the store at 10:30 p.m. the night before Heeringa went missing.
The detective told the judge that Willis purchased a 2006 Dodge Caravan in the end of March 2013, one month prior to the alleged abduction.
Police received a tip which led them to interview Willis in May 2013. Willis claimed to have been at his home from 9:30 p.m. to 12:35 a.m. the night Heeringa went missing. The detective told the judge that cell phone records indicate Willis was not at home, but near his grandfather's vacant home during that time.
A key to the case has been a missing piece of the gun found at Exxon, the same unique accessory missing from the P22 discovered in Willis's van.
Police located the owner of the P22 found in Willis's van, who identified the gun and said the accessory found at the Exxon belonged on the gun.
The 16-page transcript from Monday in Muskegon District court ends with judge saying, "there is probable cause to issue warrant," on Bluhm and Willis.
(© 2016 WZZM)