Heidi Allen, 18, was stolen on Easter Day 1994 from the D&W Convenience Store in New Haven, New York while working part-time. Gary and Richard Thibodeau, the last persons to see her alive, were arrested as a result of her investigation. While Richard was acquitted of all charges, the former was found guilty and sentenced to death in prison.
The case, which officials and the FBI believe remains unsolved, got weirder over time. Shocking facts continued to emerge, suggesting there was more to the story than meets the eye. Allen’s case remains one of the most baffling mysteries as the hunt for her continues. This article takes a look at some of the key questions and facts behind Heidi Allen’s decades-long disappearance ahead of the upcoming Dateline: Secrets Uncovered episode, which will air on Oxygen on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 7:00 PM ET.
Five essential facts about Heidi Allen’s long-running court case
1) Heidi Allen’s boyfriend was with her the morning she disappeared.
Allen reportedly opened the convenience store where she worked as a part-time employee at 5:45 a.m. Her boyfriend was with her at the time, but he left as soon as others arrived.
2) Authorities immediately suspected foul play in Allen’s case.
The cash register at the convenience store last recorded activity at 7:42 a.m. A passerby pulled up the sheriff’s patrol car outside the business at about 8:15 a.m., claiming the store was open but unattended. After a lengthy investigation, officials concluded that Heidi Allen had inexplicably departed from her service.
Allen’s maroon station wagon was left intact in the parking lot, as were her coat, wallet and car keys. In addition, nothing was stolen from the cash register or counter, suggesting there was no attempted robbery, leading officials to believe Allen had been kidnapped from the business.
3) Richard and Gary Thibodeau were the last customers to visit the business before it disappeared.
Richard Thibodeau, accompanied by his brother Gary, is said to have arrived at the company at 7:30 am. He claimed to have bought two packs of smoke and then left. Both individuals were eventually arrested and prosecuted in connection with the crime. They were the only ones who had seen Allen alive before she mysteriously disappeared. They were also observed driving a vehicle outside the establishment during the incident.
4) Gary Thibodeau was sentenced a year after Heidi Allen went missing.
In June 1995, Gary Thibodeau was found guilty of first-degree kidnapping in the Allen case and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Richard, on the other hand, was acquitted in September of the same year. Gary then tried to appeal his sentence, but was rejected by the court in 1999. On the other hand, he maintained his innocence throughout the years. Gary passed away in 2018.
5) At the time of her abduction, Allen was working as a juvenile narcotics informant.
Prior to her kidnapping, Heidi Allen worked as an adolescent drug informant for a sheriff’s deputy who accidentally dropped an ID card with Allen’s name and photo, identifying her as an informant, on the floor at her job. Authorities believe this contributed to her disappearance. This data was also used to appeal Gary’s failed new lawsuit.