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Episode 1: The Disappearance

Ryan Zalduondo
The site of Heidi Allen's kidnapping. The D&W convenience store -- now a Valero gas station -- is located along State Route 104 in the town of New Haven.

The Easter Sunday disappearance of 18-year-year old Heidi Allen from a gas station convenience store gripped the central New York community and has continued to do so to this day.

The crime took place in the quiet small town of New Haven, leading to an immediate fallout that was unlike anything it had ever seen.

Allen’s kidnapping created lots of questions and the fallout provided few answers about the circumstances and motive surrounding the crime.

Allen’s older sister Lisa Buske found out about her sisters kidnapping through an answering machine message.

"All my aunt said on the machine was 'Heidi’s missing get to the store'. And she hung up. And I remember looking at my husband and said 'That can't be real.' I played the machine and rewound it and played it again," Buske said. "Once I got there and I saw the tape and the lights and all the police cars I knew it was real."

Richard Thibodeau was the last known customer in the store before Allen was kidnapped, and he joined New Haven in the search for Heidi with his family and friends.

Richard said he had begun to notice he was having strange experiences with local law enforcement after he had notified police the morning of the kidnapping to say he was there.

While this was going on, Richard’s younger brother Gary Thibodeau was traveling to Massachusetts with his girlfriend on that same Easter Sunday. What they did on their trip is up for debate, but Gary did not stick around Oswego County to see the fallout of Allen’s kidnapping.

"On May 25th, they arrested me for kidnapping Heidi Allen. I says you guys are crazy."

Fifty-four days later on May 25, 1994, Richard Thibodeau was arrested in a wild scene for the kidnapping of Allen.

“On May 25th, they arrested me for kidnapping Heidi Allen. I says you guys are crazy. I didn’t kidnap nobody ya dumbasses,” Richard Thibodeau said.

On the same day, Gary Thibodeau was arrested for drug charges and jailed in Massachusetts.

Richard Thibodeau and Lisa Buske share more on the fallout of Allen's kidnapping. Use the player above to hear the full episode.

Next week, "Episode 2: The Trials." New episodes will be released each Wednesday from "The Heidi Allen Case: Central New York's Most Enduring Mystery." You can listen online, on any WRVO or NPR app, and on iTunes.