It’s 2012, just days after Thanksgiving. The Pennsylvania fall is starting to turn to winter, signaling the start of buck season.
Fawn Mountain has spent the day with her girlfriend, Heather, at Heather’s parents’ home in East Freedom, preparing their butcher shop for hunting season.
Heather’s brother, Mike, and his girlfriend, Stephanie, also help clean the shop by washing it down with bleach and sterilizing tools.
Once finished, they all drink some beer before heading home, together, since the couples are neighbors in a Claysburg trailer park.
Before calling it a night, Heather stops at Mike’s house to help him bring something inside.
Fawn waits in the car and talks to Mike’s girlfriend, Stephanie.
Fawn said “I’m gonna go home and watch some scary movies.”
That was the last Stephanie saw Fawn.
Growing up, friends and family described Fawn as friendly and easygoing.
“I liked Fawn,” Stephanie said. “She was very nice, very sweet.”
“She got along with basically everyone,” Allan Mountain said.
The kind of person that goes out of her way for people.
“Fawn was an outgoing girl, she wound up, I mean she would do anything for anybody,” Dorothy Mountain said.
Especially her family.
“We had our ups and downs, but she was a good sister to me,” Allan said.
Fawn was particularly close to her cousin, Bridgette, growing up, and helped her raise a young family.
“I had my daughter when I was 16,” Bridgette said. “Fawn and I were already close to begin with, but we got even more close because she just grew so attached to my daughter.
But childhood wasn’t easy for her.
“Fawn had a rough life, very rough,” Bridgette said. “She’s been exposed to a lot of sexual abuse.”
And her family says she struggled with love because of that abuse. At a young age, Fawn had two children during a relationship that got physically violent. Both children were taken away.
“She had a history of abusive relationships so she just fell right back into another one,” Bridgette said.
A third child, a daughter named Kayden, came still-born a few years later. Fawn found comfort in keeping Kayden’s ashes close, and soon looked at love differently.
“She had never even been with a woman, so that was a little strange,” Bridgette said.
Fawn first met Heather Dibert back in 2009 in an Altoona nightclub called “The Island.” Friends and family close to the pair call the connection ‘instant,’ and their relationship developed fast.
“She said to me, ‘mom, can we go for a walk?’,” said Dorothy. “I said, ‘ok, we’ll go for a walk’ and she said ‘Heather asked me to move to Claysburg with her.’”
Although Fawn appeared to be sold on her feelings, others weren’t so sure. Especially her mom, Dorothy, who thinks Fawn was holding something back.
“And she said, ‘if I go with Heather to Claysburg, I’m never coming back to Altoona’,” Dorothy said. “Which she was right. She never came back to Altoona.”
Stephanie Claar, who used to be Heather’s brother’s girlfriend and still remains close to Fawn’s family today, describes Heather as temperamental, and even possessive. Something she says Heather brought into her relationship with Fawn.
“Heather worked at several different jobs, she couldn’t keep a job, because she would make Fawn go to work with her and sit in the car all day,” Stephanie said. And at other times, “she made her stay at home but she had all calls going into that house forwarded to her cell phone, that way Fawn wouldn’t get calls. Then she put padlocks on the front and back doors so Fawn couldn’t get out.”
Fawn’s family believes she saw things differently.
“She didn’t see it as controlling, she saw it as ‘she cares about me’,” Bridgette said. “‘She wants to protect me.’”
According to the six Protection From Abuse documents filed by her former partners, Heather had difficulty maintaining healthy boundaries in her relationships.
And friends say it was no different with Fawn.
“She comes down with this long hoodie on and the hood was up over her neck and I’m like ‘can you please take that hood off’,” Dorothy said. “So she winds up and she takes her hood down real slow, and she said ‘Heather choked me out’ and I said ‘what do you mean Heather choked you out?’”
“She said ‘Heather came back from the bar one night, she was drunker than a skunk, she wound up covered my hands and my feet, sat on me and took a rope to my neck’,” Dorothy said. “She had rope marks coming clear around her neck.”
“She went to the emergency room so many different times that she had to start going to different hospitals because they started asking questions,” Stephanie said.
Eventually it became harder for Fawn to hide her abuse so she tried to escape.
“There were many times that [Fawn] ran from Heather,” said Bridgette. “Many times.”
“Fawn had left Heather several times before,” said Stephanie.
Seeking help from Stephanie.
“Did Fawn always ask you for a ride to her mom’s house?”
And each time Heather would be close behind.
“It doesn’t matter if it was 2:00 a.m., if Fawn went missing she’d be banging on everybody’s door,” Stephanie said.
Which is why, in 2011, it seemed strange to friends and family when Fawn filed a sudden Protection From Abuse order against her own mother.
“Next thing I know, I get a piece of paper in the mail stating that I wasn’t supposed to be near her,” Dorothy said.
“Even though her and her mom fought, Fawn always ran back to her mom,” Bridgette said.
With her mother’s safety net torn apart, Fawn felt completely isolated.
“Fawn just felt that by then she didn’t talk to anybody for so long that I just don’t think she felt that she really had anybody,” Stephanie said.
But she was never alone.
“My bedroom window matched up with her kitchen window so I’d sit in the bedroom window and she’d sit in the kitchen window and we’d talk back and forth since she wasn’t allowed outside that house,” Stephanie said.
These talks, held in secret, were some of Fawn’s last conversations, filled with hope.
“Sometimes she’d say, ‘someday I’m going to get out of this’,” Stephanie said.
“She told me before, she said ‘I feel like there’s nothing I can do’,” Stephanie said.
Soon, Heather found a way to end those conversations too.
“Heather would have her mom check on her every once in a while to see what was going on and her mom pulled in and seen us talking and then they boarded up those windows,” Stephanie said.
By November 2012, Heather and Fawn were no strangers to the law. From PFA orders not being followed to violent arguments, and even burglary charges.
“The cops were called there so many times,” Stephanie said.
Despite the Protection From Abuse Order she had from her daughter, Dorothy’s fear for Fawn’s safety became too much to bear.
“My gut instinct said ‘there’s something wrong, call city hall’,” Dorothy said.
So she called for a welfare check to see if Fawn was ok.
“Turned around wound up they made the statement ‘Mrs. Mountain, we already checked, your daughter is fine’,” Dorothy said.
And it turned out, she was.
“They made contact with her and it has been documented in their reports that they did physically see her at her last known address at that point,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Christopher Fox said.
Reports that Pennsylvania State Police say stopped in November of 2012.
“That was the last documented police report that they had where she was seen,” Trooper Fox said.
It’s Monday morning, November 26. Fawn’s neighbors Stephanie and Mike get ready to go to the butcher shop, but something feels off. They find Heather, Fawn’s girlfriend, outside her trailer, smoking a cigarette and talking to her parents.
Fawn is nowhere to be seen.
“I just thought it was odd that Fawn wasn’t out there too cause usually Heather didn’t leave her out her sight,” Stephanie said. “And I said ‘Where’s Fawn at?’ and she said ‘well I got up at 3:00 in the morning to go to the bathroom and she was gone.’”
Friends notice that Heather’s behavior seems in the weeks following, oddly calm, for Fawn being gone.
“For six years, anytime Fawn would leave her she would be losing her mind, going house to house seeing if anybody took her anywhere,” Stephanie said. “Who leaves at 3:30 a.m. in the middle of winter and doesn’t take anything?”
Did she get tired of it all? Did she leave everything behind? Or did something more sinister happen? These are the questions that are still left unanswered.
“I just don’t believe it,” Stephanie said. “Like where would she have, first of all, she never went anywhere without her daughter’s urn. And I’ve seen her leave Heather numerous times and that’s the very first thing she’d take and get the cops to get. She didn’t take any of her clothes, none of her family has heard from her.”
“Do you think that she’s alive?”
“I’m praying to God that she is,” Allan said. “I really do miss my sister.”
Friends say a week after Fawn went missing, Heather’s dad completely remodeled the trailer.
“They took out the carpet, took out the floor boards, and the floor boards and the plywood that’s in her trailer, they took it all out, put all new flooring in, and everything, and then the next week she moved to Ohio,” Stephanie said.
As time moved on, Heather came back to central Pennsylvania, this time with a new love.
“And here she’s back two months later with another girlfriend who she eventually marries?,” Bridgette said.
But perhaps the strangest thing after Fawn went missing was that Heather acted like the disappearance never happened.
“When Fawn’s stepdad was in the hospital dying, they were trying to get a hold of Heather,” Stephanie said. “She acted like Fawn went missing and came back and was staying there and was telling her uncle and them that she was there.”
“Heather told so many people so many different things, ‘oh well I had talked to her she was in a prison in Ohio, they called, they wanted to release her to my house and I said absolutely not’ and ‘she went to New York, she went and now she’s prostituting in New York,’” Bridgette said. “I know Greenfield Township did database searches throughout all these states cause at one point, Arizona, she was supposed to be in Arizona, according to Heather. All of these states they checked the database and nothing.”
Three years go by before a missing person’s report is filed in 2015.
“That was another thing people were saying, oh how could she go missing for that long and people not know?” Bridgette said. “You have to understand that she was in an abusive relationship where she was isolated from family and friends. She wasn’t allowed to have family and friends.”
The case was never sent to State Police until 2017. And by then, everyone originally involved moved on.
The initial statements that were taken from them…lost.
“Greenfield Township dropped the ball big time,” Bridgette said. “This could’ve been investigated way further and more in depth on their part if they would’ve just taken the time.”
Now the case is in the hands of State Police, and they are trying to bring Fawn home.
“We’re still fielding calls, people are still calling Trooper Martini, and she’s still following up with those calls if anyone has any details that would be important to the investigation,” Trooper Fox said.
For years, Fawn’s family and friends have believed that Heather had something to do with Fawn’s disappearance. This is what police had to say:
“Is Heather listed as person of interest in this investigation?”
“We do not have a person of interest.”
While police have hope, they are also realistic.
“She’s still listed as a missing person but we do suspect that her disappearance is associated with foul play.”
And all that’s left for Fawn’s family…is hope.
“I really wanna know where she’s at,” Allan said. “So I can tell her that her dad passed away and mom’s not doing so good. So we need, I have to find her.”