If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that factory worker turned convict Jeffrey Willis ruined more than a few lives through his double existence and heinous offenses over the years. This much has actually even been evidenced in ABC’s ’20/20: The Murderer in the Minivan,’ especially as it underscores the way he targeted innocent souls for nothing but his own twisted pleasure. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the initially blind-in-love woman to have mistakenly trusted him for over 18 years — his ex-wife, Charlene Bishop — we’ve got the details for you.
Who is Charlene Bishop?
It was reportedly back in 1998 when Charlene first came across Jeffrey, only for them to soon fall head over heels in love before ultimately deciding to tie the knot in a small ceremony in 2003. The truth is they then blissfully settled down in Muskegon County, Michigan, where she dedicated herself to her faith as well as her family while he provided for them, that is, until around 2009. That’s because they’d essentially begun leading separate lives by this point, stemming from the fact “there was a lot of abuse verbally” whenever they were together, per her court testimonies.
Charlene has never been able to elaborate on this statement since it’d garnered a successful objection from the defense, yet she did indicate Jeffrey was a bit of a master manipulator too. According to her accounts, she was right there when authorities executed a search warrant on their home in 2016 to uncover thousands and thousands of explicit images/videos on his computer. These ranged from clips of high school girls at swim meets, gruesome rape fantasies, necrophilic porn, plus a file “vics” wherein he had images of a missing 25-year-old named Jessica Heeringa.
Jeffrey was actually being investigated for an unrelated abduction at the time but was arrested for 36-year-old Rebekah Bletsch’s murder once her images were also found in his “vics” folder. Moreover, shell casings from near her body matched the gun recovered from his minivan, which contained several more disturbing photos of bound young women as well as a few medical syringes. That’s when he wrote his wife a letter from jail describing the events of the day Rebekah passed away — June 29, 2014 — but she later candidly conceded, “it felt like he was planting memories.”
It thus comes as no surprise Charlene testified against Jeffrey when he stood trial for homicide in 2017 by making it clear he’d practically tried to coach her on what to say about that 2014 day. She even raised concerns over his alibi by asserting their dog crate wasn’t broken in any manner, so his claim of gathering wood (in the killing window) to repair the same didn’t make sense. Though most importantly, she maintained she herself had no hand in any ordeal and didn’t know how some of her diabetic equipment ended up in his car — she certainly hadn’t given them to him.
Where is Charlene Bishop Now?
With the help of Charlene’s testimonies, through which she revealed she relies primarily upon an insulin pump but keeps some syringes well preserved for emergencies — away from Jeffrey — he was found guilty of Rebekah’s murder on November 2, 2017. He was then also convicted of Jessica Heeringa’s kidnapping turned murder on May 16, 2018, shortly following which he began serving his two life terms in prison without the possibility of parole. Since then, from what we can tell, this Muskegon County, Michigan, resident has been trying to move on with life to the best of her abilities and has even gone back to using her maiden name, especially as she’d filed for divorce after Jeffrey’s arrest in 2016 itself.