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Berks County's #2 & #1 stories of 2013

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 04:41:24 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 05:16:05 PM CST

All this week we've been counting down the top stories of 2013 chosen by 69 News viewers.

A Lititz, Lancaster Co., woman dropped her children off at school and was never seen again. Coming in at number two on the list of top local stories is that of Brenda Heist, the mother who went missing for 11 years.

"We got home, assumed she was the grocery store. But she just never came back," said Heist's daughter, Morgan Heist.

Heist was found in May 2013 near Key West, Fla. She told police she hitchhiked to Florida with a group of homeless people in February 2002 because she was overwhelmed with a pending divorce and financial problems.

"She expressed remorse. She told me she was sorry for what she did. She felt embarrassed, ashamed," said Det. Sgt. John Schofield, Lititz Police Dept.

But her family saw it differently and felt abandoned.

"She was selfish and she left me and my brother and my dad. She got up and decided she could not do it anymore. That is not what you do as a mother," said Morgan Heist.

Brenda Heist was sentenced to one year behind bars in June for using someone else's identification during a traffic stop.

Coming in at number one for the top story of 2013 is the Reading Royals winning their first Kelly Cup.

Fans lined Penn Avenue and Penn Street because, after 12 years of hockey in Reading, the Royals won their first championship against the Stockton Thunder on May 25.

"Another shutout, six-nothing Royals. We win the cup. Everybody is here. We are partying. It is a wonderful thing," said Royals fan Louie Albert.

"It was great to celebrate with the family, but it was great to celebrate with the city, too.  The city waited 12 years for that, and I think they deserve it," said Yannick Tifu, the Royals team captain.