Jessica Heeringa Missing Update: Missing mom may have been trying to help abductor in some way, official says

Jessica Heeringa seen here in a personal photo.
Jessica Heeringa was reportedly abducted from the gas station where she worked, police say.

(CBS/AP) - The family of a Michigan mother that vanished from the gas station where she worked say they believe she may have been trying to help the person who abducted her, police said.

PICTURES: Mich. mom vanishes from gas station

Police say they believe Jessica Heeringa, who was working the night shift, was abducted from the Exxon Mobil station in Norton Shores, Michigan last Friday night. There is still no sign of the 25-year-old mother.

Police are now investigating the case as an abduction, and they say they've identified a suspect. Four persons of interest have been interviewed and cleared as suspects, police said, reports MLive.

"The family believes that Jessica more than likely left to help(someone) in some way," said Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw.  "Their belief is that someone that she's either acquainted with or someone she was trying to help lured her out."

Norton Shores Police Chief Daniel Shaw said relatives, friends and other people associated with Heeringa have been interviewed and that investigators are "no longer really concerned with their activities from that night."      "We're moving on, trying to find other people," Shaw said.

The station didn't have a security camera and there were no signs of a struggle or robbery, though police have released a description of a vehicle and a man seen in the area.

 "There's no sign of a struggle, no sign of anything inside thestore being disturbed," Shaw said. "The cash drawer was sittingout and no money was missing. Her purse was in the store with400-some dollars in it. It's just odd how that occurred."

The man who called 911to report an empty gas station Friday night told the Detroit Free Press he "felt something was up."

Craig Harpster, 54, told the paper that when he arrived, the gas station clerk was gone, but the door was unlocked.

Harpster told the paper he saw the clerk's purse near the cashier's station, and that nothing appeared to be out of place inside the shop.

"I really felt something was up right away," he told the paper. "Not good."

Police are searching for a silver minivan, which may be a Chrysler Town and Country, that was seen at the station before Heeringa's disappearance. Police said a passerby saw the van parked near the gas station, and then it drove away, reports MLive.

Police are describing the driver of the van as a white male, between 30 and 40 years old, about six feet tall, with a medium to heavy build and broad shoulders. The driver had light brown or sandy blonde wavy hair and was last seen wearing a bright red or orange sweatshirt, reports MLive.

Heeringa is described as a white female, about five feet, one inch tall and 110 pounds, with shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes. She reportedly wears wire rimmed glasses and may be wearing a blue collared shirt labeled with "Sternberg Exxon."

Heeringa's mother, Shelly Heeringa, told local media that sherepeatedly told her daughter she worried about her working late by herself. "She said, `Mom, don't worry. I can handle anybody,"' she said.

Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity near the Exxon Mobil gas station is asked to contact Silent Observer at 231-72-CRIME (231-722-7463) or call 911.

Complete coverage of the Jessica Heeringa disappearance on Crimesider