The mystery behind the Lancaster County woman who disappeared 11 years ago is resurfacing. Brenda Heist walked out on her family, her life and her problems to live a homeless lifestyle in Florida. The wife and mother of two was eventually declared deceased.
A neighbor who wishes to keep her name anonymous, has been living on the 200 block of Swathmore Drive, in Lititz, for years. She says, “I never thought they would find her alive, never.”
When she and her neighbors found out their once neighbor, Brenda Heist, turned herself into Florida authorities, they were stunned.
Neighbor Dale Glessner, says, “What the hell, if that’s what she wanted, that’s what she got.”
Neighbor Steph Stiffler, says, “Imagine having to go through that as a child my own age.”
Stiffler grew up across the street from Brenda’s children Lee and Morgan. Like Steph, they are now in their twenties.
Stiffler says, “I think they were more quiet, but we didn’t hang out so.”
Detective John Schofield, with the Lititz Borough Police Department says, “Everybody that knew Brenda told us there was no way she would leave her children behind.”
But she did…becoming a face on Missing Persons databases since 2002, living another life, homeless.
Detective Schofield says within two years of living this way, she found another place to call home working random jobs for cash.
“She met a gentleman where she moved into a camper with him and lived on a campground off of Key West, on and off for seven years,” says Schofield.
It’s a far cry from the street she once lived.
“She chose living on the street and as a homeless person was a better option for her,” says Schofield.