Details of Disappearance
Allen was employed as a clerk at the D & W Convenience Store located at the intersection of New York State Routes 104 and 104B in New Haven, New York in 1994. A photo of the store is posted with this case summary. Allen opened the business by herself at approximately 5:45 a.m. on April 3, 1994. The last transaction was recorded on the cash register at 7:42 a.m.
A passerby flagged down a sheriff's patrol unit outside the store at approximately 8:15 a.m. and reported that the business was open but unattended. An extensive search produced few clues as to Allen's whereabouts and she has never been heard from again.
The ensuing investigation revealed that Allen was most likely taken against her will from the store. Her jacket, purse and car keys were left behind in the store when she vanished, her maroon station wagon was undisturbed in the parking lot, and money was found in the cash register and on the counter.
Richard Thibodeau was charged with Allen's kidnapping in May 1994, one month after she was last seen. Richard's brother, Gary Thibodeau, was arrested on the same charge in August 1994, three months later. Richard was the last customer known to be in the store before Allen vanished. He says he purchased two packs of cigarettes at 7:30 a.m. and left.
Gary was convicted of first-degree kidnapping in Allen's case in June 1995 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Richard was acquitted of all charges in September 1995. Gary attempted to appeal his conviction, but was denied in 1999. He is expected to remain incarcerated until 2020.
Prior to her disappearance, Allen's cousin, Melissa Searles, gave her a gold bracelet with her name on it. Searles stated the bracelet mysteriously turned up inside an envelope in her mailbox in 2004, but she didn't tell the police or anyone else about it for years. The reasons for her silence are unclear.
Allen's abduction got additional attention the summer of 2014, when investigators dug up the floor of a collapsed cabin looking for her body. They didn't find anything in the search, however. Her mother died in 2015 at the age of 66, on what would have been Allen's 40th birthday.
Allen was about to graduate from Onondaga Community College with a degree in human services when she disappeared; she hoped to get a career in education or counseling. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.