Iowa Police Obtain Search Warrants in 23-Year-Old Case of Missing TV Anchor Jodi Huisentruit
Police have obtained search warrants in the cold case of a missing TV reporter.
For the first time in more than a decade, there may be a break in the cold case of a television anchor who vanished on her way to work.
Jodi Huisentruit was the 27-year-old morning anchor at KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa, population 30,000. She has been missing since June 27, 1995. She hasn't been seen since.
When she failed to show up for work, police were called. In the parking lot of her apartment building, officers found a pair of high heels, a blow dryer, hair spray and earrings scattered near her red Miata. Her car key was bent and on the ground near her sports coupe.
No one has ever been charged with her abduction.
So it was heartening for those still looking for her to learn of a search warrant obtained by Mason City police for vehicles that may be related to her disappearance.
"I'm very encouraged by what we saw with those search warrants because this is something we haven't seen in the last 10, 15 years," said Josh Benson, a reporter for WFLA-TV and the president of FindJodi.com, a website dedicated to finding the outgoing and popular newscaster.
The site is run by journalists and retired police officers. A follower of the group discovered online court records showing Mason City officers had executed a search warrant seeking GPS data from a 1999 Honda Civic and a 2013 GMC 1500. The "interested party" listed on the court records is John Vansice, a friend of Huisentruit who may have been the last person to see her alive.
The warrant is sealed and Mason City Police declined to comment on why they obtained it or what they were looking for.
"We're not releasing any information about the cars," chief Jeff Brinkley told InsideEdition.com. "It is an active investigation. We are holding our cards pretty close to the vest."
A student writing a paper about the cold case came upon an online caption for the 2017 search warrant and took a screen shot of it, Brinkley said.
Vansice, who is now 72 and lives in Arizona, has steadfastly denied having any part in Huisentruit's disappearance. The two apparently were close friends. The night before she vanished, she had stopped by his home to watch video from a surprise birthday party Vansice had thrown for her.
"She was in good spirits when she left here," Vansice said at the time, according to the Des Moines Register. He told the paper he had voluntarily submitted to a polygraph test and had passed. But he moved more than 20 years ago after being harassed by the community, he said.
"I have been crucified by this community ... I have been crucified by the media," he said at the time. "I have friends who won't talk to me."
Investigators have said they believe someone grabbed Huisentruit shortly after 4 a.m. She had overslept and was rushing to get to work.
Neighbors heard a scream, but didn't call police. There were no witnesses.
At the time, DNA evidence and testing were not widely used.
"This was in the middle of the 1990s," Benson said. "There was no DNA." But he admits he is at a loss to explain why the case remains open.
"It was such a big case for the Midwest," he said. "I don't exactly know why it's so hard to solve."
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