When Rebekah “Becky” Sue Bletsch was found shot to death near her home in Dalton Township on June 29, 2014, it baffled not just the state of Michigan but also the entire nation to its very core. After all, as explored in ABC’s ’20/20: The Murderer in the Minivan,’ this proud family woman had been fired thrice in the head, yet it still wasn’t until May 2016 that authorities finally caught a break. While they arrested Jeffrey Thomas Willis on the basis of both concrete and circumstantial evidence, her two sisters as well as her daughter, in particular, were over the moon with hopes for justice.
Who Are Rebekah Bletsch’s Sisters and Daughter?
Although Becky was born in St. Ignace on November 23, 1977, to Debra Martell Winberg and Nicholas Winberg as the second eldest of their four, she’d spent nearly half her life in the Muskegon area. It was thus here that she’d built a good life for herself by having stable jobs, strong passions, plus a sound support system, all the while maintaining an unwaveringly tight relationship with her family. She was actually particularly close to both her younger sisters, Jessica Winberg Josephson and Nicole Winberg Popps, who still vividly remember her as not just “motherly” but also the “life of the party.”
“[Becky] was everything I wanted to be,” Nicole once said, yet what hurts her heart the most is the fact her sister was in the prime of her life when the rug was snatched from right under her feet. That’s because she was happily married to Kevin Bletsch, had welcomed a beautiful daughter named Elli into their lives, and bought a travel trailer for them to explore more of this world together. But alas, then came June 29, 2014, and Jessica can still bitterly recall how she found out her loving elder sister was killed while jogging on Automobile Road — it was through Facebook, of all places.
“Then I called [Becky], and she didn’t answer,” Jessica somberly expressed in the ABC original episode. “I called her again, no answer. So I called her daughter.” Elli then added, “[Aunt Jessica] called me and asked if my mom was home. I said, ‘No, I don’t know where she’s at,'” but she was able to convey that her father was outside talking to the police, making the former realize her worst fears were true. As for when the innocent 12-year-old learned her mother would never return, her grandmother was the one to calmly tell her in private amongst the chaos: “My grandma was inside. Told me.”
Thus began the official murder investigation and Becky’s family’s tireless efforts to ensure justice would be served, especially after they learned she’d died fighting for her life. “Not a day goes by that you wonder what happened to her,” Jessica said back then. “And now knowing how she spent her last moments fighting for her life, it’s hard to think about what she went through in those last moments. The only good thing is she died fighting for her life. [Her perpetrator] didn’t have a chance to hurt her any more than he already did.” They were hence glad when Jeffrey was arrested two years later.
Where Are Rebekah Bletsch’s Sisters and Daughter Now?
Thankfully, Rebekah’s loved ones didn’t have to wait long for justice to be served because Jeffrey Willis stood trial in October 2017 and was found guilty of murder with a firearm on November 2. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, only to then choose to walk out of court so as not to hear his victim’s family’s grief-filled yet powerful statements. However, the Muskegon County Sheriff ensured their assertions were recorded on a disc, which he then handed to the transport officers to repeatedly play it while they took this inmate to prison.
“It brings a little bit of peace, a little bit of comfort,” Jessica later conceded. “I did want the opportunity to say it to his face… but knowing he did get to hear it does help.” However, the fact Jeffrey could blow the family a kiss while walking out in response to being called a coward affected them a lot too, making them work towards establishing the Rebekah Bletsch Law. On March 9, 2018, their hard work resulted in the Michigan House of Representatives passing a bill requiring all convicted defendants to listen to victims’ impact statements, which was then signed into the Rebekah Bletsch Law on May 24.
Nevertheless, Nicole has since admitted there’s no closure: “We lost our sister… That empty spot is always going to be there. Closure’s the wrong word. Answers, yes.” Therefore, today, it appears as if she, Jessica, Kevin, and Elli are doing their best to move on from the past while still keeping Becky alive in their hearts – they never want to let her go.
Coming to their respective current standing, from what we can tell, Nicole Popps resides in Whitehall, Michigan, where she proudly serves as a wife as well as the Operations Manager at Aludyne. On the other hand, family woman Jessica Josephson seems to be a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, plus a Facebook marketplace queen at the moment.
As for Elli, this nearly 22-year-old is presently attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where she genuinely appears to be happy because she’s not only pursuing her dreams but is also in a healthy relationship with Ice Hockey star Tanner Latsch.