Jodi Huisentruit went missing in 1995. Friend hopes a $25K reward uncovers her remains

Nearly 28 years after Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance, a $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the recovery of the remains of the former Mason City morning television news anchor, according to a news release.

Huisentruit disappeared early on the morning of June 27, 1995, on her way to work at KIMT-TV in Mason City. Although the case has remained in the public eye, no arrests or charges have been made in connection with the case.

Jodi Huisentruit

Jodi Huisentruit

Licensed private investigator Steve Ridge offered the reward as a private citizen. Ridge says the reward offer has the blessing of Huisentruit’s sister, JoAnn Nathe.

“I speak with JoAnn on a regular basis, and we have decided the timing is right to seek information on where Jodi’s body was discarded,” Ridge said. “This reward does not require an arrest or conviction — but simply the recovery of Jodi’s remains,” Ridge added.

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Ridge believes that someone out there knows what happened to Jodi. It could easily be someone who bears no guilt or involvement but has knowledge they’ve been reluctant to share before, he said. He hopes that this reward would encourage someone to come forward.

“I am now extremely confident that multiple people know what happened to Jodi. Eventually, someone may decide to talk,” Ridge said in a news release. “We hope to encourage that possibility.”

Ridge has been actively investigating the case for three years after leaving Magid, a media consulting firm that provided on-air coaching for Huisentruit early in her career, and becoming a private investigator.

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“She was one of ours, a fellow journalist, who at a very young age was very susceptible, perhaps more susceptible than she realized and very vulnerable. And I’ve just always felt as though we need to bring some peace to her family, he said.

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What happened to news anchor Jodi Huisentruit?

Huisentruit, 27, who grew up in Long Prairie, Minnesota, didn’t show up at work for her 6 am broadcast and was never heard from again.

She moved to Mason City to become a morning and noon anchorwoman two years before her disappearance.

On the morning of her disappearance, Huisentruit answered an early morning call from a KIMT-TV producer. She said she had overslept and was going to head into the office. The producer called again at 5 am with no response before co-workers asked the police to perform a welfare check at her apartment.

Police believed she was grabbed as she tried to unlock her red Mazda Miata shortly after 4 a.m. A hair dryer, a red pair of shoes and a bottle of hair spray were found next to her car at her apartment complex. Police found a palm print on the car along with signs of a struggle.

Six months after her disappearance, the Des Moines Register reported there were no solid suspects, despite an extensive police search. Today, despite investigating several people of interest over the years, the police still don’t have a main suspect.

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“The fear that Jodi Huisentruit’s abduction stirs is widely shared,” a 1995 Des Moines Register article said. “Women’s vulnerability to crime is well understood, although not talked about much, perhaps because it’s a fact of life, however abhorred, and because it is usually harassment or robbery or rape, but not a disappearance into thin air.”

In 2017, police executed a search warrant for GPS data on two cars related to John Vansice, a friend of Huisentruit’s who was living in Arizona at the time. He may have been the last person to see her before she disappeared.

Keeping the case alive

Huisentruit was declared legally dead in 2001. Her mother, Jane Huisentruit said in a 2005 article that she believed her daughter was at the bottom of a lake near her home. Her cousin, Mary Lee Moberg, believes a man stalked her.

“Nothing adds up,” Moberg said, “Besides something like a stalker. Some twisted-person mentally.”

Family, friends and others interested in the case have kept momentum alive.

Four billboards with her face and the words, “Somebody knows something. is it YOU?” were erected around the Mason City area in 2018. regularly provides updates, with several articles posted some months.

Jodi Huisentruit went missing on her way to work June 27, 1995, at station KIMT in Mason City.  Family and friends hope the billboards will bring new clues to the investigation.

Jodi Huisentruit went missing on her way to work June 27, 1995, at station KIMT in Mason City. Family and friends hope the billboards will bring new clues to the investigation.

Each year, as the case remains unsolved, tributes to the news anchor with a Minnesotan accent and a contagious smile are posted to the website. Through times of no leads and false hope, the search for Jodi Huisentruit continues.

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Ridge has asked that any information in the case be directed to the Mason City Police Department at 641-421-3636.

Noelle Alviz-Gransee is a breaking news reporter at the Des Moines Register. Follow her on Twitter @NoelleHannika or email her at

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: A new reward offered in hopes of movement in the Jodi Huisentruit case

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