No one knows why Heidi Planck, a devoted mom, suddenly left her son’s football game at half-time and never returned. But the 38-year-old’s dog Seven — who had been with her at the game — may have provided a vital clue about what happened next.
In the months since Planck disappeared on October 17, 2021, her case has caused rampant speculation among the Los Angeles-area community she had called home.
“Heidi Planck’s disappearance has been all over the news in Los Angeles and since it’s unsolved and no one knows where she is, all the theories are on the board,” “Dateline” correspondent Josh Mankiewicz told Oxygen.com. “So everything involving her job in high finance to dark tales of drug parties have been discussed. And until Heidi’s found, we’re not going to know what’s true and what’s not.”
Mankiewicz dove into the complex disappearance as part of the new podcast “Dateline: Missing in America,” which takes a closer look at some of the country’s most perplexing unsolved missing persons cases.
Planck’s ex-husband, Jim Wayne, told Mankiewicz that when he last saw her at their son Bond’s football game, Planck had seemed agitated and “a little frenetic” before suddenly announcing at half-time that she had to go.
As she left the game, Planck was seen getting into her gray Range Rover with her dog, Seven.
When she failed to pick Bond up from school three days later as planned, Wayne reported her missing to police. He suggested that police try to locate her through the GPS on her Range Rover, but strangely, investigators discovered that the GPS on the vehicle wasn’t turned on and the location features on her Apple Watch, laptop, and iPhone had also been disabled.
“I’m sorry. This is a little weird to me,” Wayne said in the podcast. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all.”
As Wayne considered where his ex-wife of nine years could be, he had another idea and thought that maybe she would be able to be traced through her dog’s chip.
He called the company to find out and was told that Seven had already been found wandering on the 28th floor of a luxury high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles, 12 miles away from the youth football game.
“Right away, I called detectives and told them. And that’s what got this whole thing into full swing, finding Seven,” Wayne said.
At the time of her disappearance, Wanye said Planck had been under stress. Her place of employment, a small investment firm, was potentially being implicated in a SEC civil case alleging a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.
Wayne said that Planck, who served as the company’s controller despite what he described as a lack of financial training, was “extremely worried” and “scared” that her name had been connected to the company in IRS filings.
While there was some speculation that her disappearance could have been connected to her job, another theory was linked to reports of a party at the building her dog was found in that happened the same day she disappeared.
Planck was captured in surveillance footage video at 6:22 that evening walking down an alleyway right next to the apartment building. Other video footage allegedly found by police placed her inside the building, according to the podcast.
“There was a pretty clear understanding amongst the investigators that she had attended this party or get-together and went into distress, had some kind of medical episode,” Eric Leonard, a reporter for Los-Angeles based NBC affiliate KNBC, told Mankiewicz. The current police theory takes an even darker turn, according to Leonard. “And for one reason or another, nobody called 911 for help. And she died.”
Los Angeles Police have publicly stated in an update on the case that “forensic evidence was located inside the building” that led them to believe that’s where Planck died.
They launched a massive effort to try to recover her remains from the Chiquita Canyon Landfill late last year but it was halted due to “unforeseen forecasted weather events.”
To date, Planck’s body has never been found and her loved ones are still left with lingering questions about what happened to the 38-year-old.
“Every minute, every second passes, you wonder if there’s still hope,” her friend Natalie John said in the podcast. “And I hope there’s hope. But for me, I’m afraid that hope, it’s just going away a bit.”
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 486-6840 or the Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 1-800-222-TIPS.
For more on this case and others like it, tune into the podcast “Dateline: Missing In America,” which is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and TuneIn. New episodes drop weekly on Tuesdays.