When teenager Madison Nygard sought help from a stranger while walking back home late at night in April 2016, she had no idea it would put her in danger. Moments later, she frantically called 911 from a nearby house after narrowly escaping with her life. ‘#TextMeWhenYouGetHome: Madison Nygard’ chronicles the horrific incident and follows the investigation that led straight to Jeffrey Willis. Let’s delve into the details surrounding the attempted abduction and find out where Madison is at present, shall we?
Who is Madison Nygard?
A resident of Muskegon County, Michigan, Madison Nygard, was only sixteen at the time of the incident. Known as a kindhearted and generous teenager who enjoyed a remarkable relationship with her parents, she was pretty popular in the local community and loved by most. Moreover, like most girls her age, Madison loved partying and hanging out with friends, although her teachers claimed she never let herself get distracted from her future aspirations. However, little did she know that a sudden terrifying incident in her hometown would change her life forever.
While April 16, 2016, was a regular day in Muskegon County, Madison looked forward to attending a party with her friends. However, the party ran late into the night, and once she realized that getting home would be difficult, she decided to leave on her own and walk back. Yet, while walking, the sixteen-year-old soon lost her way and found herself in the middle of nowhere. That was when the teenager noticed a silver van drive up to her, and the driver asked if she needed some help.
Incidentally, the man behind the wheel appeared to be kind, and since Madison had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary, she explained her situation and asked for his cell phone. The driver promptly replied that he would hand her his phone if she entered the van, and the teenager naturally obliged. Once Madison entered the vehicle, the driver locked all the doors and rolled up the windows. Realizing that her life was in danger, the sixteen-year-old began begging her kidnapper to set her free, but the man took a gun from under the seat and pointed it at her.
That was when the teen took a split-second decision and somehow unlocked the passenger side door before jumping out of the moving vehicle. Even as she ran away from the scene, she could hear the van coming to a stop, and the kidnapper took aim before shooting at her. Yet, the bullets thankfully missed their mark, and Madison was able to make her way to a nearby house, from where she called 911. When first responders arrived on the scene, they noticed that Madison hadn’t sustained any injuries other than the ones she received when jumping out of a moving vehicle.
Besides, the teenager immediately alerted authorities about the silver van, and the police were able to track it through CCTV cameras. The image from the cameras helped experts determine the make and model of the vehicle, and once the perpetrator was arrested at a traffic stop, Madison picked him out from a lineup. Interestingly, even though the perpetrator, who was later identified as Jeffrey Willis, was arrested for attempted kidnapping, the police soon realized he could be linked to two unsolved murders.
On April 26, 2013, Jessica Heeringa disappeared when working a late night shift at a gas station in Norton Shores, while on June 29, 2014, Rebekah Bletsch was shot dead in Muskegon, Michigan. While the suspect was seen driving a silver van in both instances, he had never been identified until Jeffrey’s arrest in 2016. In fact, when the police searched his house after his arrest, they found a computer with detailed files on both Jessica and Rebekah and numerous pictures of violent crimes. On the other hand, a search of Jeffrey’s van revealed a handgun, ammo, and a box of items that could be used to abduct an unsuspecting victim.
Where is Madison Nygard Now?
Eventually, the gun and ammunition turned out to be the final nail in the coffin since the firearm was the same one used in both the murders as well as the attempted kidnapping. Moreover, live bullets from the location where Madison escaped the van matched the ammunition used in Jessica and Rebekah’s murder, allowing the police to arrest Jeffrey for his crimes. When Jeffrey was produced in court, she gathered her courage and faced her abductor.
Madison even gave a detailed testimony against Jeffrey, and it helped the jury convict him on two counts of first-degree murder and a count each of kidnapping and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. That said, people should note that he has not been charged with her abduction. Nevertheless, the kidnapping survivor embraced privacy following the trial and currently prefers to keep her life under wraps. Still, it seems like Madison, who was 22 in 2022, still resides in Michigan and has built a wonderful life surrounded by her loved ones.
Read More: Jeffrey Willis: Where is the Kidnapper Now?