UNSOLVED: When an Iowa News Anchor Vanished into Thin Air
Jodi Huisentruit was a well-liked news anchor in Mason City.
The 27-year-old had started her professional broadcasting career at KGAN in Cedar Rapids and eventually moved to Mason City in 1993 where she anchored the morning and noon news hour on Mason City's CBS affiliate, KIMT-TV.
When working at the station, Huisentruit would typically arrive close to 4 AM. At approximately 4:30 AM on June 27, 1995, a coworker called to check in and make sure she was on her way. Having slept in, the St. Cloud State University graduate said she would be there shortly, but never arrived.
When 7 AM came around and there was no sign of Jodi, the station determined it was time to call the Mason City police department. According to iowacoldcases.org, this s what officers found:
Upon their arrival, officers discovered a number of Huisentruit’s personal possessions strewn about the parking lot, including Jodi’s purse, hair spray, hair dryer, and a pair of red high-heeled shoes. Huisentruit usually carried these items to and from work in a canvas tote bag.
The key to Huisentruit’s vehicle was found bent inside the lock on the driver’s side door. Mason City Police Lt. Frank Stearns said drag marks were visible on the rain-soaked pavement.
Interviews with neighbors revealed that screams had been heard, but the apartment building was located near a campground and the screams were dismissed as nothing more than noisy campers.
Jodi’s canvas tote bag — in which she often carried her notebooks and computer diskettes — was not found at the scene and has never been located.
The site continues:
"There was no indication of a stalker whatsoever,” said Stearns in the Fox News story dated June 11, 2013.
Huisentruit was legally declared dead in May 2001, and names of several persons of interest emerged."
John Vansice, a neighbor and friend of Huisentruit’s, was quickly one of the first to come forward and say he was the last to see her alive. He's remained a suspect since the early days of her disappearance. Iowacoldcases.org adds:
Vansice denied any connection to the abduction and has since moved from Iowa to Phoenix, Ariz. He could not be reached when contacted by FoxNews.com.
Over several following years, the police received thousands of tips and interviewed over 1,000 people, but nothing of substance ever came to the surface.
As of April 2020, the investigation was still ongoing, and the possibility of the truth being uncovered came with a less-than-reputable character: KTTC.com tells:
Dustin Honken is up for execution for the murder of five people in the 1990s — and supposedly knows who abducted the television news anchor back in June of 1995.
Honken was set to be executed in January, but a U.S. District Court of Appeals intervened, halting the sentence being carried out. Now, with the global pandemic, Ridge says it's unclear when Honken will be executed.
The world won't know what the former drug kingpin had to say, as he was ultimately executed in July of 2020.
Most recently a private investigator, Steve Ridge, was told evidence in the case may have been destroyed:
To learn more about the disappearance of Huisentruit, you can visit findjodi.com.