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Police: Latest person of interest cleared

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) - Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw has told WZZM 13's Jon Mills that an earlier person of interest in the case of Jessica Heeringa's disappearance has been cleared.

The person had been interviewed by police over the last couple of days.

Also, police tell WZZM that Jessica's parents have submitted DNA samples to police so investigators have her DNA on hand if needed.

Police said at a morning news conference that they are also checking the vendors who regularly visit the gas station making deliveries.  They are checking some spots of spilled fluid in the parking lot of the gas station to see if that can lead to any clues.

We have crews in Norton Shores and Muskegon County today, following the investigation that began last Friday night after Jessica Heeringa disappeared from her job at the Exxon Mobile station on Sternberg Road at about 11:15pm. 

Hoffmaster search for Jessica turns up nothing

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police looking for Jessica Heeringa had a promising lead but it wound up leading nowhere. Now six days after she disappeared, investigators say they are no closer to finding the missing 25-year-old mother.

Tuesday afternoon, Norton Shores Police received a tip of gunfire in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Saturday morning. The park is about four miles from the Exxon station where police believe Heeringa was abducted.

Police Chief Daniel Shaw told WZZM 13 while he believed the tip was credible, he also knew Saturday was opening day of turkey hunting season and hunting is allowed in the southern portion of Norton Shores. While there was no information connecting the gunshots to the Heeringa case, police still organized an aerial and ground search of the park around 5 p.m.

Wet & Chilly April in Muskegon, Michigan


The weather during the month of April was colder and much wetter than usual.

Temperatures during April averaged 43.7°F, 2.9°F below average and 3.8°F colder than last year (47.5°F).  Twenty-one days were colder than usual, eight were warmer, and one was considered average.  The highest temperature occurred on April 30 with 81°F while the lowest temperature occurred on April 2 and 3 with 21°F.

Precipitation was well-above average last month measuring 7.43", 4.52" more than usual , making it the second wettest April on record after 1909 (8.05"), and 5.15" more than last year (2.28").  There were eighteen days with measurable precipitation, six more than average (12).

Jessica Heeringa's family: We miss her

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- During the six-day search for Jessica Heeringa, we've heard from her mother, sisters, grandparents and fiancé, but not her father.

Jessica's mother and father are divorced and estranged. Even though he prefers to keep a low profile, her father says he cares deeply for his missing daughter.

He and his side of the family were part of the crowd at the prayer vigil for Jessica Tuesday.

"People are coming up to me saying 'Why aren't they saying anything about the dad and other people? Why doesn't that dad care?' Well he does care!" Family friend Christina Jenkins told WZZM 13. "He's never mentioned because he is estranged from the mother. I just want everyone to know there is a whole other side to Jessie's family and we are it, and we are all here supporting her, love her, and miss her just as much as everybody else."

Glasses found in park not Jessica's

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police conducted a ground search for Jessica Heeringa Thursday evening at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.

During the search, a park visitor found wire rimmed glasses that resembled Herringa's. However, a family member tells WZZM 13 she does not believe the glasses are Jessica's.

A Michigan State Police helicopter and police dogs are assisting in the search for Heeringa.

When do police let a person of interest go?

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- The sex offender Norton Shores Police questioned Wednesday night in the Jessica Heeringa case voluntarily returned to police Thursday for additional questioning.

He was person of interest number 25 in her alleged abduction, according to Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw.

WZZM 13 was the only crew on the scene in Muskegon Heights to witness the FBI and multiple other police crews question the man in the silver minivan. But Chief Shaw says this scenario has played out almost 25 times, just not in the public eye.

"I would call this more routine," said Shaw.

So how does the routine work once police have questioned their person of interest? Shaw says it's a team effort. "The investigator or person working the case provides information to the whole team."

Citizen investigators flood police with tips

NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- Police and investigators have received hundreds of tips about the Jessica Heeringa case from people all over West Michigan, and in some cases, the world.

Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw says his department has received over 500 tips. "There have been people looking at home, doing their own investigation for us then providing that information," says Shaw.

Most of those tips coming in have been grey or silver van sightings from people writing down plate numbers then phoning it in, but there are some tips coming in from web sleuths. Tipsters have been visiting criminal internet databases and comparing photos with the sketch of the suspect. There are even people scanning Google maps.