Suspect in Muskegon abduction attempt worked for school system in the 90s

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — The man arrested and charged in connection to the attempted abduction of a teen girl was fired from a previous job he held at a school for exposing a student to adult websites, according to documents.

Jeffrey Willis was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of kidnapping, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of felony firearms for the incident that happened on April 16.  A 16-year-old girl called police after Willis offered to help her while she was lost on West River Road.

The teen said Willis offered her his cell phone,  then locked her in his van and took off.  She told police she was able to jump from the vehicle and escape.

FOX 17 learned Willis was an employee of the Fruitport Public Schools from 1998 to 1999 when he was fired for gross misconduct.  Willis was a probationary employee working as a custodian and was fired for using a school computer to access adult websites.

According to his personnel file, which FOX 17 obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, Willis accessed pornographic websites that he showed to a student in one instance. He had also been reprimanded by his immediate supervisor for spending time with his girlfriend when he should have been working, as well as letting his girlfriend do some of his work.

Willis was not assigned to any particular building or school, the superintendent said custodians typically rotate buildings.

More recently, Willis worked at Herman Miller's Hickory facility in Spring Lake.  He has been placed on leave pending the investigation.  The company says they were unaware that Willis was being investigated before his arrest.

At his arraignment on Wednesday, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson requested that bond be denied for Willis because of items found in Willis' van, including handcuffs, rope and syringes likely full of sedatives.  The judge set bond at $1 million.

The prosecutor's office said they are still investigating to see if Willis may be involved in any other unsolved cases in Muskegon County, including the case of the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa in 2013 and the death of Becky Bletsch in 2014.  However, officials say there has been no evidence ,so far, to directly connect Willis to any other cases.

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