Small Town Anchorwoman Gone Without A Trace
Jodi Huisentruit moved to Mason City, Iowa, in late 1993, and quickly became an active member of the community. As the anchor of a morning news show, Jodi was a local favorite, a woman with many friends and no known enemies. On June 27, 1995, Jodi Huisentruit vanished without a trace.
On the morning of her disappearance, Jodi was scheduled to work her regular shift on the morning show. When she didn’t arrive on time, the show’s producer, Amy Kuns, called her apartment. She noted that nothing was out of the ordinary with Jodi’s answer and assumed she had just overslept. The thought of a possible abduction never crossed her mind.
When Jodi didn’t show up by airtime, Amy anchored the newscast alone and sent the first available person to check on Jodi. Police arrived at Jodi’s apartment shortly after. Frank Stearns, an investigator for the Mason City Police at the time of Jodi’s disappearance, reported seeing Jodi’s personal items strewn about in a trail leading from her car. There was also an unidentifiable partial palm print on the side of her vehicle.
By that afternoon, the Mason City Police launched a massive search, aided by the FBI and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Rescue teams scoured the countryside. Divers and police dogs covered the Winnebago River and its banks. But there was no trace of Jodi Huisentruit. In fact, the only possible clue was a white Ford Econoline van seen in the parking lot of Jodi’s apartment building about the time she disappeared.
A deep dive into Jodi’s personal life revealed nothing unusual. Private Investigator Patrick McCarthy recalls that there was “no dark side to Jodi; she was as real and all-American as she appeared to those who knew her and to her viewers.”
As a display of the idyllic town’s grief, community members put up yellow ribbons and signs to commemorate Jodi. Now, 25 years later, the ribbons have turned into lit porch lights and candles as the “Leave A Light On For Jodi” campaign grows in the #LightsForJodi hashtag.
More people of interest have been interviewed, DNA has been subpoenaed, and vehicles have been searched, but no indictments have been made. Additionally, Private Investigator Steve Ridge says that someone who found themselves in a “very volatile and extremely dangerous situation” destroyed evidence that could have led to a conviction in the days immediately following Jodi’s disappearance.
A billboard put up for Jodi’s 50th birthday was vandalized with the words “machine shed” and the name of a retired officer formerly on her case. It’s unclear whether this was a tip, a message, or a vandal with their own agenda.
25 years later, the culprit and motives behind beloved anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance remain a mystery.
See the original Unsolved Mystery segment on this case streaming in Season 8, Episode 1 with Robert Stack and in Season 3 Episode 12 with Dennis Farina.