Hope is what is keeping the Parr family pushing forward in the weeks since their only daughter, Helen, vanished from her bedroom in their Louisville, Kentucky home.
“You wake up in the middle of the night and just hope she is sleeping somewhere safe and warm,” Robert Parr, Helen’s father, told Dateline. “We have to keep hope that she is out there and OK.”
The last time anyone saw Helen was around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, September 2. Robert said he noticed his daughter was still awake after everyone else had gone to bed. He asked her if she’d like to watch a movie. She declined, saying she wasn’t feeling well and was going to take a shower and get to bed herself.
In the morning, Helen was gone.
“We went from, ‘Oh, she is in the backyard with the dogs,’ to, ‘Maybe she went on a walk and didn’t want to wake us,’ to really panicking as the hours went by,” Robert told Dateline.
Helen’s parents searched her room, and found nothing notable missing except their daughter’s driver’s permit.
The Louisville Metro Police Department is investigating, but few details are able to be released as it’s an ongoing investigation.
However, concern is growing as Helen was recently diagnosed with a heart condition that can cause her heart rate to rise rapidly, her parents said. She was scheduled for a procedure to perform more testing last week. “It’s not a matter of if it acts up, it’s a matter of when that happens,” Micki Parr, Helen’s mother, told Dateline. “She knows how to help it with a breathing exercise when it gets too fast, but it needs treatment.”
Family members describe major changes in the teen’s life the past two years. Her first year of high school was turbulent in numerous ways, including drinking and some drug use, so her parents had her enrolled in a residential program for teens. She moved back home this past January after approximately two years there.
Helen was taking online courses and planning a future with the hope of applying to the University of Louisville to study psychology, according to her mother.
But a combination of factors led to a frightening episode in July which left Helen hospitalized, her parents said. Once she was released from the hospital, an out-patient program was recommended that offered counseling and other activities.
Helen had been attending the program five days a week until she vanished.
Because of the situation, Helen’s parents confiscated her cell phone earlier this year. They said they discovered their daughter had a “second identity” on Facebook and Instagram and were concerned about whom she may have been meeting online.
“It was a hazard,” Helen’s father Robert said. “You don’t know who they are talking to and we just didn’t want her going back into the problems she faced in the past because of it.”
Her parents worry that somehow, their daughter was able to sneak on different social media platforms while at her treatment program and that may have played a role in her disappearance.
Hundreds have been sharing Helen’s photo and information online, the majority strangers to the Parr family. They have created the Facebook page 'Help Find Helen Parr' as well as a gofundme page to raise money for more fliers.
“The support is unexplainable,” Micki told Dateline. “People want to know what they can do to help. We had a few truckers volunteer to post her flier along the routes they drive. People want to donate so we can print more colored fliers. Just everything. It’s helping us get through this.”
To put it simply, the Parrs just want to know Helen is safe. No matter where she is, or what has happened, her parents said they will go anywhere to get her if she just asks.
“Whatever problem there is that she decided was major enough for her to need to leave, we can work it out. We’ll take it from wherever she wants to start,” Robert told Dateline. “We just need her to take that first step and call us.”
Helen Parr is described as 5’4” tall, weighing 125 lbs. with dirty blonde hair and hazel eyes.
Anyone with information regarding Helen’s whereabouts is urged to call the Louisville Metro Police at (502) 574-5673 or Investigator Tracy Leonard at (502) 618-9337.