News of cold case stirs up emotions for one local family

by Carol Thompson

Thursday’s notice of a press conference to be held in Amherst to announce the end of a decades-old mystery connected to Oswego County left one family in wonder and suspense as they waited to hear if the news was about their own missing loved one.

The press conference was called Thursday and scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday. For Lisa Buske and her family, it was a long 24 hours.

“We called the sheriff’s but they couldn’t reveal what it (press conference) was about,” said Buske, who is the sister of Heidi Allen. Allen has been missing since April 3, 1994.

Heidi Marie Allen, 18, was working alone as a cashier at the D&W Convenience Store, located at the intersection of State Routes 104 and 104B in the Oswego County Town of New Haven when she vanished.

A sheriff’s deputy was flagged down by a citizen who reported that the store was open and the gas pumps were on but no one was tending the business.

Buske and her family have held out hope that someday they will find Heidi.

The vague announcement of new information in regard to a cold case drew media attention and speculation that the press conference was about Allen.

The missing New Haven girl’s picture appeared on a local television station throughout the day with the report that Allen was the only open cold case in the county.

“One of the television media put Heidi’s picture in the background as they made the announcement,” Buske said. “I started getting phone calls.”

When the news aired at 11 p.m., Buske said more details of Allen’s disappearance were reported. Not only were family members calling, but community members as well.

Buske noted that while the sheriff’s deputy could not reveal what the news conference was about, the deputy did assure her that it wasn’t about her sister. The news reports seemed to contradict what the deputy had said.

“So you second guess what you’ve already been told not to worry about,” Buske said. “It was terrible.”

She referred to the news report as “rude” and a “complete misrepresentation.”

The uncertainty resulted in a restless night for Buske, who said she slept no more than 20 minutes.

The emotional turmoil ended, Buske said, when Sheriff Reuel “Moe” Todd telephoned her parents Friday morning.

“He apologized over and over for the media,” Buske said. “My mom said it’s not his place to have to apologize.”

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