Find Heidi Planck: Friends and Family Continue to Search for Answers
Far from a closed case, Heidi Planck, a financial controller disappeared without a trace six months ago in Los Angeles. While in Beverly Hills I talked to a friend of Heidi to hear more.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity, length, and brevity.
After meeting in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago, I called up a friend of Heidi Planck to hear recent developments on the six month anniversary of October 17th, 2021 when Heidi was initially reported missing. Find Heidi Planck is a recently launched resource website on the six month anniversary of Heidi’s disappearance.
CBS News Los Angeles: Heidi Planck, 39, Reported Missing From Downey After Failing To Pick Up Son From School
Taylor Simone: Thank you for your time. It’s April 17th, six months since your friend Heidi has been missing. Right now, you’re talking to media and recently launched a website for people to get to know who Heidi is. What inspired you to do so?
A: Thank you for talking to me.
It’s a combination of factors there are instances of Heidi’s case that have been sensationalized. I'm grateful people are attached to the case. To reflect on six months, I think about who Heidi is and keeping that story in focus. For any highly publicized cases with an ongoing investigation, it can be complex and that’s why we created Find Heidi.
I’m fortunate for knowing the incredible personality of Heidi I want the world to hear. She’s a human being who is loved and missed. It’s important for her son to know how many people love Heidi and what she motivated and inspired people to do, she is a bright light.
TS: There are multiple narratives on the circumstances on why Heidi went missing. We know how much she enjoyed being a mom and giving back to her community, what would you say about her career? Did she like her career?
A: With any career there can be stress.
We both came from humble beginnings, and love to work. She’s incredibly smart and took pride in her work not only in doing her job but doing it well.
TS: Is there any new information you want people to hear? Today, you’re handing out flyers, donating to non-profits that deal with at risk-youth, and talking to people in your community about Heidi. It’s Easter Sunday, and you wanted to pay it forward with Easter eggs marked with the newly launched website filled with a gift.
A: There are many sides to who Heidi is including what a generous and kind friend she is. Back in Fall, when we were handing out flyers we met her seamstress. We had no idea she knew Heidi, this woman bursted into tears crying over how much Heidi meant to her for fifteen years. What made Heidi great is she would never boast so this doesn't surprise me. She was the type who could see people for who they are. Thinking about her, she would likely feel uncomfortable about how highly I talk about her but that’s the effect she had on people including my own life.
TS: You’ve learned a great deal through this process in trying to find answers on your friend. What was something you didn’t previously expect in trying to help women who are missing?
We previously discussed how the media or anyone can lead people in the wrong direction or assume their own theories what would you want people to know about missing persons cases?
A: What took us back the most was how few missing person detectives there are for all of Los Angeles. I don’t want to get political but until you’ve experienced a loved one who goes missing and living in a city like Los Angeles you’re hit with the realization there are so few hands as each hour passes. These are some of the consequences of defunding.
TS: Task force is small.
A: Correct, when someone goes missing abruptly that is what can be frightening. Nobody really wants to invest but the second you need resources and when it happens you’re hoping there are people who can help. [On Heidi’s birthday] At the beginning of April, we’re immensely grateful to know there are men and women who continue to help us we recognize those efforts. It’s difficult for those in this field when there is a public case like this, crime is going up, budgets are declining, the pressure is on. It’s almost a disservice to those who are trying to do their job to the best of their ability.
What caught us off guard was how few resources there were initially for missing people. Nobody in the media wanted to hear it until reporter Stacey Butler [who is now retired] did an interview for KCAL 9 Local News. She gave us that chance to tell the story and met us at the Hope and Flower building. It was still emotionally raw at time but she took a chance on us, she got it to go national. We became more resourceful in looking for Heidi.
I think about people who don’t have support and resources when they’re searching for missing loved ones, who have to knock on doors, make phone calls, show up to a crime scene, and email until someone listens if they're lucky. There are people who go missing and that’s it, it becomes a distant memory. If one detective has thirty cases and your one person there’s only so much one can do.
TS: Now that you have a made a website on Heidi for people to become timeline aware of the case and you’re on another media push, what is your next focus?
A: When it first happened we went all in. Now, with the support of the LAPD we have reassurance that they’re doing the best they possibly can. I know within the homicide division, they were touched by this case and will continue to work.
As human beings we’re trying to find a place to land and when there aren’t answers there is nowhere to land. Our focus going forward is putting good will and positivity out there, we want the best sides of Heidi to come out, social media often creates a culture of internet sleuths to speculate who can easily damage an investigation or spread misinformation. Like you said, what is put in print or on the internet is out there forever so we think of her son and his peace of mind. If one random act of kindness serves as a domino and creates five more acts of kindness, that’s what Heidi would want.
TS: It’s never easy when someone goes missing for all who are close and during those sensitive times it's difficult to trust those acting in good faith. It could happen to anyone.
A: Yes, this is why I focus on the good. What I loved about Heidi is she lived for today. That’s not something I was always comfortable with. Heidi taught me how to live now. Get what you love when tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, and that I will carry with me forever.
Find Heidi Planck is now live you can visit here.
Taylor Simone is a freelance journalist and film professional crewing for Vancouver’s motion picture industry specializing in conflict resolution, privacy, data, and reporting. Her public and private work has appeared in VICE, Georgia Straight, Arsenal Pulp, Rabble, and others.
She’s dispatched for Supernatural, Riverdale, Batwoman, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Nancy Drew, DC Legends, The Flash, Superman & Lois, Firefly Lane, Motherland, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Away, Mighty Ducks, Jurassic World: Dominion, The Adam Project, Yellowjackets, Big Sky, The Stand, The Mother, & dozens more…
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