About Jodi’s Case
[Updated November 6, 2019]
Iowa news anchor Jodi Huisentruit has been missing since June 27, 1995. The Long Prairie, Minnesota native is believed to have been abducted from the parking lot of her Mason City apartment complex between 4:00-4:30 on that early summer morning. Jodi was running late to anchor the morning news at KIMT-TV, just a mile away. She never showed up for work and has been missing ever since that day almost twenty-five years ago.
While there has been a lot of suspicions and speculation, very few publicly-known clues point to who abducted Jodi. The Mason City Police Department has been the primary law enforcement investigating the disappearance of the popular young news anchor. The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the FBI are also assisting with the case.
New to the Case?
If you are new to the case, a good primer of the events surrounding Jodi’s disappearance, people related to the case and the nature of the investigation can be viewed by watching The Huisentruit File, a 13 part series created in 2004 by Josh Benson and Gary Peterson for KAAL-TV.
Jodi Huisentruit Timeline
Monday, June 26, 1995
6:00-7:00 a.m. Jodi anchored the morning news at KIMT-TV. (She returned home the day before from a waterskiing trip to Iowa City with several friends, including John Vansice, Tammy Baker and Ani Kruse.)
9:00 a.m. Jodi attended the annual Mason City Chamber of Commerce golf tournament fundraiser. Jodi’s golf team played briefly at the Highland Park golf course, which handled the overflow crowd, until they were rained out. The group socialized at the clubhouse before Jodi went home mid afternoon to change to dry clothes to wear to the awards dinner at the Mason City Country Club. Jodi, who loved to golf, was on a team with two local businessmen and a KIMT-TV sales associate.
3:30 p.m. Jodi rejoined her team at the country club. She socialized, had dinner. Two of her golf partners said Jodi mentioned she’d been getting annoying phone calls and planned to soon change her home number.
8:00 p.m. Jodi said goodbye to her team and to her news director, Doug Merbach, and headed home.
8:24 p.m. Jodi called her friend Kelly Torguson in Mississippi. She talked briefly with Kelly’s husband since she was not home. The husband said Jodi sounded cheerful and not worried.
It is not clear where Jodi was for the next several hours that Monday night
John Vansice, a much older friend of Jodi’s, told police Jodi stopped by his home that evening to watch a a video tape of a surprise 27th birthday party he hosted for Jodi earlier that month.
Tuesday, June 27, 1995
3:00 a.m. Jodi normally arrived at this time at KIMT-TV studio to anchor the 6:00 am news. This morning, she apparently overslept.
4:00 a.m. When Jodi had not shown up for work, producer Amy Kuns called Jodi and woke her up.
The producer said everything sounded okay. Jodi said she would be right in to work, about a 5-minute drive from her Keys apartment.
5:00 a.m. Amy Kuns said she tried to reach Jodi again. Jodi didn’t answer. Kuns continued to write and produce show.
6:00 a.m. Amy Kuns anchored the hour-long newscast since Jodi still had not shown up for work.
7:00 a.m. After the news was done, Amy Kuns asked a coworker to call police to check on Jodi.
7:13 a.m. Mason City police got a call from a KIMT-TV manager, requesting a welfare check on Jodi at the Keys apartment complex.
7:16 a.m. First MCPD officer arrived on the scene. It was clear immediately a crime had occurred in the parking lot of the Keys apartments. Jodi’s new red Mazda Miata was still there, just steps from Jodi’s building. There were signs of a struggle, including drag marks on the pavement. A bent car key was nearby. Jodi’s red high heels, blow dryer and earrings were scattered by her car. A partial palm print was found on the vehicle. Nothing looked out of place when police checked Jodi’s second floor apartment. During interviews that morning with neighbors, some reported hearing a scream around 4:30 a.m., but no one called police. John Vansice showed up at the crime scene that a.m. He told investigators Jodi stopped by his home the night before to watch a videotape of a surprise 27th birthday party he’d hosted for her earlier in the month. Jodi had also just spent the previous weekend with Vansice, and some other friends water skiing in Iowa City. A man who lived up the street from the Keys apartment claimed he saw a light-colored van in the lot as he drove to work about that time. The van has never been found.
Within hours, search teams were assembled and the immediate area was searched. The search expanded to 2 miles…then 5, 10 and eventually hundreds of miles. National news media crews descended on Mason City, which is located near Minnesota where Jodi grew up.
At the time Jodi disappeared, she was hoping to leave Mason City and get a job at a Twin Cities television station. The Twin Cities was a much bigger news market and much closer to her Long Prairie hometown.
May 2001. Jodi was declared legally dead by a judge in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.
2003. FindJodi.com was created by Minnesota tv journalists Josh Benson and Gary Peterson.
Their goal was to keep Jodi’s case in the spotlight and for the website to serve as a clearinghouse for tips that might lead to Jodi.
2005. The 10th anniversary of Jodi’s abduction, Jodi’s closest Minnesota friends created Jodi’s Network of Hope. The non-profit hosts an annual golf tournament in Long Prairie to honor Jodi and to raise safety awareness. The event is held every year around Jodi’s June 5th birthday.
Additional Reading on the Huisentruit Case
Background article on Jodi Huisentruit in Unsolved Magazine.
FindJodi.com interview with Amy Kuns.
Original welfare check call to police.