I made it clear that I would talk about Heidi and "who" she was before she became one of America's statistics and a face on a missing person/children's poster. Tonight at 10 p.m., #DatelineNBC will air a one-hour episode on Heidi's kidnapping. I don't know what to expect and am nervous to see how they use, or don't use, the hours of footage filmed in January 2015. I'll be honest with you, I'm nervous to watch and listen to the stories and interviews they share. I'm anxious for the effect of this episode on aging and ill friends and family. As the clip below is shared on social media and possibly other blogs (you can share it and access a "embed code" on the Dateline webpage), some are excited and can't wait. I won't speak for my family, but personally, my stomach is off and I can't sleep.
Throughout my interview I was cautious, not knowing who they were interviewing or their purpose for each question. Since my interview, and possibly before it, Dateline has been interviewing many people for this sixty minute broadcast. You take out the time spent on commercials and you are probably left with 48 minutes. How and what they will cut, edit, and mesh from hours and days of filming is mind boggling to me. I know I spent hours at their make shift studio, atop the Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, New York.
I don't know what to expect and my prayer is the same, to find my sister, Heidi Allen, the eighteen year old victim in this crime. This was and still is, the most difficult interview I've yet to do. At times it felt more than an interrogation than it did an interview, but I was warned about this and half expected it. This is a national news show and I kept reminding myself, "This is for Heidi, what if someone sees it and they know where she is, let this bring Heidi home."
There were fun moments during the interview when I had the opportunity to share about growing up with Heidi and sister memories, the happier times. It was the latter part of the interview that took a turn and their focus was fierce and driven, creating anxiety and fear. Their focus shifted from Heidi to the court hearings, which I specified I wouldn't comment on. Things were asked and said purposely to stir up emotions and rile me. They were successful. This interviewed ended with a frustrated sister losing her cool, yes, I lost my cool and didn't handle myself well. I'm praying this isn't the only 30 seconds of the interview they use, it is my worst moment advocating for Heidi in an interview.
A friend joined me for the day, she lifted me in prayer during the whole interview and when the cameras finally turned off and I was in the other room, the interviewer told her he was surprised I did so well because he was trying to stir me up (or something similar to this) and he was impressed at my composure. Ironic isn't it, I cried the entire way home and on and off for a week because I let Heidi and my family down, he viewed me as strong. I guess we all find out tonight.
I don't know who we'll see during the one hour segment tonight, at 10 p.m., on #DatelineNBC, but one this remains the same today as it did almost a year and a half later, Heidi remains missing and no one has come forward to say where she is to answer my parents' first question, "Where's Heidi?". Dateline plans to post a "Remembering Heidi" video to their website following the 10:00 p.m. airing tonight.