MUSKEGON, Mich. - Muskegon businesses are rallying around a 16-year-old girl whose escape from an attempted abduction led to the arrest of an accused killer.
The girl escaped an abduction attempt by Jeffrey Willis in April. He was charged Wednesday in the shooting death of Rebekah Bletsch in 2014.
They are calling her a 'sign of hope' in this community. They've been worried after two high-profile unsolved cases: the Bletsch murder in 2014 and the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa in 2013. In Muskegon Thursday, there was relief and gratitude from residents and businesses. Police and the prosecutor say that the 16-year-old is a hero.
Two businesses specifically showed their appreciation today. Sew What recognized the girl with a gift certificate and 1st Assured Bailbonds reached out to the family and offered to get her a cell phone enabled with GPS. The girl was apparently abducted when she was lost and Willis offered her the use of his cell phone. They say that the girl's mom had wanted to get her a phone before, but didn't have the money to get one.
Willis is due back in court on June 2nd. He is facing charges of child porn and also kidnapping and abduction charges, as well as the murder charge. He is considered a person-of-interest in the Heeringa case, but is not charged in that case at this time.