In 2013, a shocking crime took place in Michigan that left many residents and authorities bewildered. Jessica Heeringa, a 25-year-old mother of one, suddenly vanished while working alone at a petrol station late at night. Surveillance footage captured an image of a silver van leaving the station shortly after her disappearance, but beyond that, there were no clues or leads to go on.
The case went unsolved for years until the arrest of Jeffrey Willis in 2016. It was only through the tenacity of Marlene Anderson, Jessica’s cousin, and the detective work of a teenage hacker that the authorities were finally able to crack the case. The teen had uncovered disturbing evidence from Willis’ computer that linked him not only to Jessica’s disappearance but also to the murder of Rebekah Bletsch just a year later.
Willis was charged with both crimes and sentenced to life in prison without parole for his heinous acts. The story of how Jessica Heeringa and Rebekah Bletsch’s cases were solved has been documented in an eye-opening Netflix documentary. Directed by Emmy award winning director Robert Kenner, ‘Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’ looks into how these cases were solved and shines a light on issues such as online privacy and cyber safety. If you are interested in understanding more about these complex cases and want to learn about what happened behind closed doors then this is an unmissable documentary for you.