It was on April 26, 2013, when the entire world turned upside down for Jessica Lynn Heeringa’s loved ones as she went missing from the Norton Shores Exxon gas station where she worked. The truth is, as carefully chronicled in ABC’s ’20/20: The Murderer in the Minivan,’ she has long been presumed dead at the hand of Jeffrey Willis, but no traces of her have ever been recovered. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about arguably the two individuals to have mattered to Jessica the most — her then-boyfriend and their son — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who Are Jessica Heeringa’s Boyfriend and Son?
Although it’s unclear precisely when Jessica first came across Dakota Quail-Dyer, they were actually deeply involved by the time 2010 rolled around, as that’s when they welcomed their son, Zevyn. It thus comes as no surprise they were even engaged and living together by spring 2013, unaware everything would soon change because she’d suddenly disappear off the face of this earth. But that’s not to say their relationship was always like a bed of sunshine and roses; in fact, per the latter’s narrative, they’d been on again and off again for quite some time owing to personal issues.
Not only did Jessica and Dakota struggle with finances since they had drug problems plus he was unemployed, but the couple also stumbled in managing their frustration before it turned into abuse. According to the latter, they were so “rocky” that they broke up before getting back together multiple times, and they did indeed dabble in methadone while she alone also occasionally exploited heroin. As if that’s not enough, she apparently used to steal from work to support their habits as well as casually flirt with other men, ultimately resulting in them coming to head one day by becoming physical.
Dakota has specified that Jessica never went beyond talking with others, yet even that was too much for him — however, he has always vehemently maintained he had no hand in her disappearance. In fact, he stepped up after that fateful April 26, 2013, in terms of both his efforts to ensure her safety by unsuccessfully searching for her and supporting Zevyn (with his parents’ help) by getting a job. The then-chef also revealed at one point that he consciously keeps Jessica’s memories alive in their son: “I don’t keep her off his mind. Every night he goes to bed, I tell him that his mommy loves him.”
Dakota also added, “I tell him that she wants to be home, but she can’t. I don’t ever want him to forget his mother. We say she’s lost. He knows that somebody took her. He told me the other day that he’s going to get bigger and take care of the bad guys.” But then came the speculation Jessica had already been killed, especially owing to the evidence recovered from the gas station — her cigarettes, car, money-filled purse, drops of blood, plus parts of a firearm — and he had to let Zevyn know some key facts. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the entire truth came to light with Jeffrey Willis’ arrest.
Where Are Jessica Heeringa’s Boyfriend and Son Now?
From what we can tell, Dakota was arrested in June 2014 on three counts of delivering or manufacturing marijuana, but he has since seemingly turned over a new leaf and stepped onto the right path. The loss of Jessica likely still hangs over his head like a dark cloud despite the justice to have been served in 2018 — life in prison without parole for Jeffrey — yet he has apparently stayed strong for his son. He actually prefers to remain well away from the limelight these days, so we unfortunately have no clear knowledge of any of his recent personal or professional experiences; all we know is that he’s possibly doing his best to move on from the past while also caring for his now-teen son.
Read More: Where is Jeffrey Willis’ Ex-Wife Now?