The disappearance of a Michigan mother who was last seen working the late shift at a gas station was reclassified today as an abduction, as the woman's family pleaded for her safe return.
Jessica Heeringa, 25, made her last sale at the Exxon gas station in Norton Shores, Mich., at 11 p.m. Friday, police said. She was preparing to close the store for the night, but 15 minutes later authorities said they received a call from a concerned customer reporting that there was no employee at the open gas station.
"She was going to get out in 15 minutes," Shelly Heeringa, Jessica's mother, told ABC News. "In 15 minutes that store would've been closed and she would've been on her way home."
Heeringa's purse and keys were left behind and the cleaning supplies she always took out at closing time were on the counter, her mother said.
Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw said today that it appeared robbery was not a motive, and that the store's cash drawer was left untouched.
The gas station was not outfitted with surveillance cameras, so investigators are relying on tips to help them zero in on what happened during the 15 minute time frame Heeringa went missing.
Shaw said authorities are looking for a silver minivan, possible a Chrysler Town and Country, that was seen in the area prior to Jessica's disappearance.
Shelly Heeringa said someone saw her daughter "walk out of the store with this guy like there was no problem," but when they got to his van, a struggle ensued.
"If somebody did take her, I wish they would just drop her some place so she could come home," Heeringa said of her daughter.
"She's just a hard working girl. She was trying to support her child," she said. "She was trying to get her life going and she just needs to come home."