JUNE 27, 1995
- Jodi Huisentruit doesn’t report to work by 3;30 a.m., her regular arrival time as morning and noon anchor/producer at KIMT-TV in Mason City, IA.
- Around 4 a.m., Huisentruit gets a call from Amy Kuns, another news producer at the station. Huisentruit says she’ll be at work in a few minutes. Kuns thinks Huisentruit sounds like she overslept. Huisentruit never arrives. Kuns anchors the hour-long Daybreak newscast, while Kevin Skarupa reports on the weather.
- At 7:13 a.m., a co-worker calls police to check on Huisentruit.When an officer arrives at 7:16, he finds Huisentruit’s red Mazda Miata in the parking lot of her downtown Mason City apartment complex. A pair of red women’s dress shoes, a blow dryer, bottle of hair spray, car keys and earrings are scattered beside the car, along with a bent car key.There are signs of a struggle. Police begin a missing persons investigation.
- Officers search a park next to the apartment complex and along the Winnebago River that runs through the park. Mason City Police Chief Jack Schlieper says his department has no concrete leads.
- Agents from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation join local officials in the search. Schlieper says he suspects foul play, but says few clues have been discovered.
- Schlieper says investigators have interviewed more than 100 people, but no one is considered a suspect. A prayer service is held for Huisentruit at a Mason City church.
- Schlieper says he remains hopeful the case will be solved. Officers continue checking tips.
- Schlieper says Huisentruit’s disappearance is being treated as an abduction. He says people saw a white van in the parking lot of her complex and heard a scream about the time she vanished. A reward fund reaches $11,000.
- Investigators use helicopters to search Mason City and an area southwest of the city. Huisentruit’s friends and family join other worshipers for Sunday service at a Mason City church.
- Late in the day, police call off the ground and air search for Huisentruit but say they’ll continue interviews.
- A Mason City martial arts instructor says Huisentruit attended a self-defense course he taught in March. Sonny Onoo says Huisentruit told him “she’d had an incident a few months back that she wasn’t comfortable with.” Schlieper says there are no new developments in the case.
- Schlieper says an FBI behavioral scientist is trying to determine if the Huisentruit case is linked with other disappearances of young women in the region. He says investigators have received more than 700 tips but have no significant leads.
- Schlieper says about 800 people have been interviewed in the case, but there are no “solid suspects.”
- Schlieper says more ground searches in the Mason City area have yielded no new leads.
- John Lang, a special agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, says it seems clear the culprit was watching Huisentruit and knew her behavior patterns. Doug Merbach, KIMT news director, says the station has not hired a replacement for Huisentruit and officially lists her as on leave.
- About 250 attend a candlelight vigil for Huisentruit at a Mason City swimming pool. Businesses throughout the city continue to display yellow ribbons and “Find Jodi” signs.
- Huisentruit’s family from Minnesota say they’ve hired a private investigator. Mason City police continue to investigate leads and rumors. The Huisentruit reward fund at a Mason City bank grows to $30,000.
- Huisentruit case is featured on national television show “America’s Most Wanted,” generating more than 60 tips.
- Police say a man questioned about Huisentruit’s disappearance has been charged with stalking a television anchorwoman in St. Louis Park, Minn. But Mason City police say the man is not considered a suspect in the Huisentruit case.
- Members of Huisentruit’s family say they flew to California and taped a session with three psychics for the television show “Psychic Detectives.” The psychics said Huisentruit’s kidnapper was someone who saw her on TV and became obsessed with her. Family members say three private investigators have found nothing to identify a suspect.
- Schlieper says a search near two Mason City-area dams turned up nothing.
- The six-month anniversary of Huisentruit’s disappearance passes with no new leads. KIMT staff members continue to fill in for her. The Huisentruit reward fund tops $34,000.
FEB. 18, 1996
- The Huisentruit case is featured on the NBC-TV program “Unsolved Mysteries.”
- Schlieper says the show generated 186 calls and 97 tips for investigators.
- About 100 people join in a search organized by one of Huisentruit’s cousins. The volunteers leave flags to mark anything that appears suspicious in the northeast Cerro Gordo County countryside.
- Police say they’re checking areas around the flags, but have found nothing promising.
- Huisentruit case reaches the one-year mark.