Prosecutor: Abduction suspect had handcuffs, syringes in van

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — A prosecutor says a Muskegon County man charged with trying to abduct a girl is also being investigated in the disappearance of a gas station clerk and the fatal shooting of a jogger.

Jeffrey Willis was formally charged Wednesday with one count of kidnapping, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of felony firearms. This is in connection with an attempted abduction of a 16-year-old girl in April.

Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson spoke at Willis' arraignment Wednesday asking the judge to deny bond.  Hilson said that investigators had found syringes with sedatives and handcuffs in the van that Willis owned and was allegedly driving at the time of the attempted abduction.

Bond was set at $1 million, and Willis asked for a lawyer. Prosecutor D.J. Hilson says police are "following up leads" between Willis and the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa in 2013 and the 2014 death of Rebecca Bletsch.

A 16-year-old girl called police on Saturday, April 16 after Willis offered to help her on West River Road and then locked her in the van and took off.  The girl was able to jump from the vehicle and escape.

Crews searched Willis' house on Sheridan Avenue Tuesday and placed him under arrest.  Wednesday, they searched the home of Willis' grandfather, which has been abandoned for years, since the grandfather passed away.  A neighbor says that Willis has been at the home on Bailey Street frequently.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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