Note: This blog was drafted last summer, revised over the past months, and the final addition this past weekend.
It was the end of July 2014 when the first reporter showed up at my parents house to detail her agencies speculation and theory of how my sister, Heidi M Allen, was kidnapped, murdered, mutilated, and then how her body was disposed of. Nearly a year later, the raw pain of the words spoken by this reporter still invade our thoughts, sometimes triggering nightmares.
I don't think reporters are trained or good candidates to detail such information to a parent. First and foremost, it's a story and theory to them versus truth delivered by trained persons like law enforcement.
On the flip side, I know some families learn of actual, verifiable, news from the media and then contact their law enforcement agency for verification. I'm thankful for the open communication we have with the Oswego County Sheriff's and the Oswego District Attorney's office. They aren't perfect, but then neither am I or any other human walking this planet so rather than focus on the negative or mistakes, we strive to move forward with one goal in mind...to find Heidi.
Photo taken by a friend prior to my interview with Dateline NBC
for an upcoming story about my sister, Heidi M Allen's, kidnapping.
April 3, 1994 seems like so long ago yet at the same time, I can blink my eyes and I'm in that moment all over again. Breaking news is one trigger for the instant transport in time to the worst moment of my life, the day I learned Heidi was kidnapped. I never expected to still not know decades later but this is the life we live.
I'm thankful for breaking news at the same time of dreading it. I try to find the positive in the situations in life. While breaking news might be stressful, create challenges you are unaware of, and share false information with the public...there are still positive aspects.
"Breaking News Will Not Break Me" July 2012
"BREAKing News Truly Breaks" July 2012
"Identified...Not Heidi" February 2012
TOP's Tuesday: News Coverage 20 Years Later, April 2014
Helicopters, Hope, and Heidi: Part I, October 2014
Helicopters, Hope, and Heidi: Part II, October 2014
Helicopters, Hope, and Heidi: Part III "Times Have Changed", October 2014
*21 years, 3 months, and 8 days later...the media and others still remember and care about New Haven's missing girl, Heidi Allen, and care enough to find air time and print space to share her kidnapping and the details that related to her disappearance
*The public is given up-to-date information about current events with at least a nugget of truth
*Some media agencies pride themselves on reporting truth with integrity and grace
*Media avenues and personalities are always changing, learning, and growing in their important role
*With today's social media and Internet, breaking news travels quickly
*Most media reporting agencies keep the family's feelings in mind as they prepare and present their story to the public, remembering in a blink of an eye - they could be the relative, neighbor, or friend with a microphone thrust in their face to answer difficult questions in their most traumatic time