Jessica Heeringa disappeared 5 years ago, suspected killer heading to trial

On April 26, 2013, Jessica Heeringa disappeared from a Norton Shores gas station. The man suspected of kidnapping and killing her, Jeffrey Willis, heads to trial in May 2018. (WWMT)

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Thursday marks five years since Jessica Heeringa vanished without a trace from a Norton Shores gas station, gripping the entire country in the search for her body.

The Heeringa, then-25, disappeared during her overnight shift at the Exxon Mobile Gas Station on April 26, 2013.

Years went by without any word about where she was, until a break in the case in 2016. A 16-year-old girl escaped an attempted abduction, and identified Jeffrey Willis as her attacker.

Police say that attempted abduction allowed them to link Willis to Heeringa's disappearance, and the murder of Rebekah Bletsch.

Jeffrey Willis, accused of trying to kidnap 16-year-old, now charged in 2014 murder

Willis is now charged with kidnapping and murdering Heeringa, even though her body has never been found.

Jeffrey Willis charged in Heeringa murder case

His trial in Heeringa's case is scheduled to begin next week. Willis will also face a second trial for the young teen's attempted abduction in 2016.

Willis is currently serving a life sentence for the 2014 murder of Rebekah Bletsch in Muskegon County.

Jeffrey Willis blows a kiss to the court before getting sentenced to life

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