Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance on June 27, 1995 quickly caught the attention of media outlets across the country. Huisentruit was a young, charismatic 27-year-old and local news anchor that disappeared without a trace.
It’s been 24 years since that tragic day, but Jodi’s case still remains unsolved.
What happened on the day of Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance?
Jodi Huisentruit was originally from Long Prairie, Minnesota, and was working up the broadcast journalism path. In 1995, she was the morning anchor at KIMT in Mason City, Iowa; her show “DayBreak” aired at 6 a.m. each morning.
Normally, she would arrive at work around 3 a.m. in order to prepare, but on the morning of June 27th, producer Amy Kuns called Huisentruit around 4 a.m. because she hadn’t come in yet.
“I called her twice. I talked to her and woke her up that first time,” Kuns told FindJodi.com in 2011. “The second time, it just rang and rang. I don’t remember the times. I had obviously woken her up. She asked what time it was. I told her. She said she’d be right in.”
Huisentruit would often be late, so her co-workers weren’t particularly alarmed until around 6 a.m. when she still hadn’t shown up to work. Kuns filled in for her on-air. Someone at the station called the local police an hour later to request a welfare check on her.
When law enforcement arrived at the young news anchor’s apartment complex, they found what appeared to be obvious signs of struggle: Husientruit’s belongings, including her bent car key, were scattered in the parking lot near her car and blood and tissue were found on one of the side mirrors.
There were also marks in the pavement which seemed to show someone had been dragged unwillingly.
Witnesses later reported seeing an unmarked, white van waiting outside the apartment complex with its running lights on earlier that morning, but after years of searching, investigators and Huisentruit’s colleagues have been unable to solve the case.
What happened after Jodi’s disappearance?
The initial search for Jodi Huisentruit was extensive, especially as media outlets across the country began to pick up the tragic story. Investigators used K-9 units, searched the banks of nearby Winnebago River, and the FBI even joined the efforts.
“A lot of times with police departments, if someone is missing or they don’t come home on time, they’ll tell them to wait 12-hours and they’ll take a missing persons report,” Mike Kitsmiller with FBI Omaha told WOWT. “But this one — as soon as the officers got there and found what was at the scene — they knew something bad had happened.”
Huisentruit’s family relocated to Iowa after her disappearance to be closer to the investigation.
“I couldn’t have had a better kid sister,” Joanne Nathe, Huisentruit’s older sister said. “She tried to motivate me. What are your goals? That makes me stronger. It’s a nightmare … not knowing where she is. We were hoping to find her in the first few months.”
Jodi was declared dead on May 14, 2001. Their mother, Imogene Huisentruit, died in December 2014 without ever getting answers on her daughter’s whereabouts.
The community also helped search for the beloved news personality. Two reporters, Josh Benson and Gary Peterson, co-founded FindJodi.com in 2003 to help educate the public about Huisentruit’s case and eventually other missing persons cases as well.
Peterson also encouraged one of his past colleagues, Beth Bednar, to take the knowledge he had learned about Huisnetruit’s case and turn it into a book. After seven years of investigating, she published “Dead Air: The Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit” in 2009.
Are there any specific persons of interest in Jodi’s case?
There are many theories related to Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance. Some believe it may have been drug related; others believe that she was abducted by a stalker.
“I think one of the reasons this case is so enduring is that it is a cautionary tale about an ordinary small-town woman who may have gotten in over her head with some very bad people. It also hit close to home in small-town America, and we know that there’s a murderer still out there, walking free, but those of us who remember Jodi won’t rest until this is solved,” Beth Bednar told Elk River Star News in 2012.
While law enforcement has investigated countless theories over the past two decades, they have still not been able to solve exactly what happened to Huisentruit over two decades ago.
“There are so many different stories and theories and possibilities that I don’t think we could ever narrow it down to who did it,” the Mason City Police Department told WOWT in 2018. “Right now, it’s trying to find out what happened to Jodi — where is she and work backwards from there. We never close our eyes to anyone and narrow to one suspect because there just isn’t evidence to support one person.”
Huisentruit’s case was highlighted in a 2019 episode of “48 Hours” in hopes of sparking the country’s memory.
If you have any information regarding Jodi Huisentruit’s case, please contact the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636.
Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, is sharing unsolved cases, like Jodi’s, in hopes of keeping these stories alive and encouraging anyone with new information to contact the proper authorities. To read more of our “Unsolved” series, click here.
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