UPDATED May 8th: Amid grandstanding and blame-gaming in the Jessica Heeringa kidnapping investigation, the window of opportunity for Michigan authorities to find the 25-year-old mother of one alive is swiftly and sadly closing.
This, despite the fact that police where *on the case* within minutes of her kidnapping...
In the meantime, the many hundreds of tips they say they've been fielding and following are also proving useless, as all the prime suspects -- many already registered sex offenders -- are interviewed and then ultimately released, having established airtight alibis for the night of April 26th when Heeringa vanished without a trace.
Choppers also scanned the nearby wooded park this week accompanied by search-and-rescue teams on the ground. They were prompted to do so by belated reports of gunfire in the hours immediately after Heeringa's abduction. But police announced by day two of this effort that there was nothing whatsoever to be found there.
Apparently a pair of glasses had further set that frantic search into motion as well, although the glasses too proved to be a red herring.
The biggest problem is that the Exxon station Jessica Heeringa worked at had no surveillance system in place. A surprising security deficit, considering their popularity these days, and one which continues to hinder the investigation considerably.
However, those residents in the neighbourhood not actively boycotting the owner of that franchise location, are claiming cameras have recently been installed throughout the premises.
This follows a wave of retaliatory gasoline thefts during the week, presumably done in protest of the owner's insistence on only hiring "pretty, young females," his refusal to assign a second person to assist with late shifts and store closings, and his deliberate decison not to install any kind of security devices that would have served to safeguard vulnerable workers like Heeringa.
The place wasn't robbed of anything, of course, but a prized and underpaid employee.
As to the investigation into her puzzling disappearance, a substance found in the parking lot of the mini-mart has been identified by DNA labs as Heeringa's blood. Teams of K-9s, however, have found no scent leading from the property, which further confirms she was whisked away by somebody. Purportedly a muscular, 6-foot tall, 30-ish man in a silver minivan captured minutes later by cameras at various businesses along the way.
Who that party actually is, despite a police sketch circulating all over the country AND the internet is becoming murkier and murkier day by day, as eyewitness testimony also becomes more and more suspect.
Whether their tales are true, false, or gravely embellished, who knows for certain. Some people will invent stories in such high profile cases as the Heeringa case though, driven by a need to insert themselves and seem important.
It's also not uncommon at all for the actual perpetrator to do the same, solely to throw a wrench in the operation and investigators off his trail...
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