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Investigators say they found locked boxes when they searched Willis' silver Dodge Grand Caravan. They believed it showed the van in question.
Their sleuthing led to Willis and officials say evidence from their investigation and searches of property has made him a suspect in two other unsolved crimes. Hundreds of items, including computers, multiple phones, clothes and documents, are being analyzed along with evidence recovered from the van, including the pistol. And investigators are now testing a. Officials said one had handcuffs, chains, rope, five syringes — including one with liquid, possibly a sedative — photographs of females chained and bound, a mask and rubber gloves and another had a gun with the serial destroyed.
And police had been to his home three times for domestic incidents and twice for animal complaints over the last seven years. But he has had contact with police over the years and was fired from his job as a custodian with Fruitport Community schools in for accessing pornography on a school computer and exposing a student to the material, records obtained by the Free Press show.
The teen also picked Willis from a photo lineup.
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His next-door neighbor, a day care operator, said she had a strained relationship with Willis, but noticed his demeanor change in the last month. Tuesday as he drove home from his job at Herman Miller, where he worked the overnight shift in nearby Spring Lake.
Schmitt, 53, opened her door just enough to get the year-old inside, took her into a bedroom, locked the door and called She tried to calm down the hysterical girl, who had left her shoes behind where she jumped out of the van near the intersection of West River Road and North Weber Road. A rolled-up unread newspaper sat outside the teen's home Thursday and visible through the plastic wrap was a picture of Willis and the headline "Accused kidnapper had syringes, rope in van.
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Related: Police: Kidnapping suspect had photos of chained women. Deputies worked with state and federal officials to identify the owners of similar looking vans, narrowing down the list from thousands. Officials with the department did not return a message Friday.
Macomber, who has year-old twin daughters, said he was known to stare at people when they were outside. She had escaped, telling police she jumped from a minivan. Teen's daring escape may help solve 2 cold cases.
The teen got in the vehicle, and then the driver locked the doors, rolled up the windows and pulled out a handgun. As police continue to investigate, Willis is behind bars and charged with kidnapping, felonious assault and felony firearm possession.
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Schmitt did not see anyone else. Deputies said the teen left a party, got lost in a rural area of Muskegon County and a man in a silver minivan rolled up and said she could use his cell phone. On Tuesday, Willis was arrested as he returned from his job working overnights at a furniture manufacturer.
As evidence is tested, a process that could take weeks, a team of more than two dozen people are following up on le in western Michigan. But behind the cheery door were dark images of child porn and videos of women bound, taped and gagged, which investigators say they discovered last week.
Thank God she jumped out and ran. He's accused of kidnapping a year-old girl on April 16 in rural Muskegon County. Meanwhile, the family of the year-old teen said what happened is the type of thing that "happens to somebody else.
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Investigators had no le or motive. Related: How a botched kidnapping led to clues in 3 crimes. Dawn Schmitt was drinking coffee on her deck around a.
Last month, the year-old victim, who has not been identified by the Free Press, was abducted while she was walking from a party. He also had a video camera in his window that faced the side of their home, Macomber said.
Teen's daring escape may help solve 2 cold cases
Detectives scoured the area looking for clues that would help them find the minivan and driver. She was able to escape from the moving van. Officials say they're investigating potential links between Willis and the disappearance three years ago of Jessica Heeringa, a year-old gas station clerk who mysteriously vanished from her job late at night, and the killing of year-old Rebekah Bletsch, who was shot in the head as she jogged about two years ago during daylight hours. A witness saw a silver minivan pulling up to the gas station near closing time. But she could turn out to be a hero.
She jumped from the moving van and and ran bloody and barefoot yelling for help. Besides about a dozen traffic cases dating back decades for speeding and other violations, several of which were dismissed, and a dog at large case, his criminal record is clean.
Willis was arrested about a. The driver stopped the van and also got out, pointing the handgun at her, a court document said.