Lee Heist even became a suspect though he was eventually cleared.
Some believed he was involved in Brenda Heist's disappearance, he said.
"The hardest thing I had to deal with was, the families of some of my children's friends would not let them play with them, because of what they thought of me. That just tore me apart. I hope they've learned a lesson not to prejudge," he said.
In 2010, Lee Heist filed a petition with the county court to have Brenda declared legally deceased, according to a Lititz police news release. It was a measure necessary for closure, he said.
Lee Heist later remarried and said he will learn to forgive his former wife.
But for Morgan Heist, forgiving her mom may not be easy.
"I hope to eventually forgive her one day for myself, not for her," Morgan Heist said.