MASON CITY, Iowa — It’s now been 27 years since 27-year-old Jodi Huisentruit went missing — on the 27th of June — meaning the television news anchor has now been missing as long as she was last seen alive.
On Monday, the community who cares about her gathered outside Huisentruit's former news staton, KIMT, to make it known they’re not going to forget her story.
"This time 27 years ago, about 10:35 in the morning, Jodi should have been behind me here at KIMT," said Caroline Lowe, a member of the nonprofit Find Jodi, which helped organize the event. "This is a very somber, very significant milestone anniversary."
Coworkers and friends shared their memories, humanizing the young woman whose story is often overshadowed by tragedy. Katie Morem, a college friend, shared memories from a study abroad trip with Huisentruit when they attended Saint Cloud State together.
"We would forever find her asleep on the carpet in her room because she would be up staying up, writing in her journal, writing letters to all of her friends. She was so driven and such a connector," Morem said.
Other friends also painted a picture of a young woman who cared deeply about maintaining strong relationships.
"It was so important for her to keep up with people," added Amy Westman, another friend. "Later on when I was married and living in the Twin Cities, when she'd come to visit--and this was back when you had to pay for long-distance [calls]--I always knew I had to carve out time for Jodi to get out her big address book, get on my phone and call every friend who lived in that area code."
Amy Kuns, Huisentruit's coworker at KIMT who was the last known person to speak with her, also attended the event.
"I was the last person to speak with her, and I thought--'why me? Why do I have to carry that burden?'" Kuns said. "But then it struck me that it's because God picked me to do this for Jodi. I wasn't strong enough at the time. It took me 27 years to get this strong, but I'm ready. To talk about it, to tell her story."
Mason City Police investigator Terrance Prochaska, the lead investigator on Huisentruit's case, spoke briefly at the event, saying the case is very much alive.
"We want to assure we take this case as seriously as we do any other case," Prochaska said. "I want you to understand that we focus on the new technology that comes about all the time. We keep trying to figure out a way to put this case into our technology that keeps advancing to one day find an answer to what happened."
Prochaska urged those in attendance to call the Mason City Police Department at (641) 421-3636. He also said the department is taking every tip seriously, even if it doesn't appear as though there's a "result" after calling and speaking with him.
"You have to understand, as we are playing a small game with whoever did this, the more information we tell, the more information that person could be receiving to try to hide even further," said Prochaska said.
Those who attended also had a chance to write notes to Huisentruit’s family in a book. The following statement, provided to the team at Find Jodi, was read on behalf of the family, who said it was too painful for them to attend:
First of all, we, Jodi’s family, want to say a big thank you to all of you who have shown up here today. We know that along with us, you feel the pain and anguish over not having found our Jodi and not having justice served in her case. Whoever thought that on June 27, 1995, we would still be searching for her 27 years later? Many of you were close to Jodi, too. Yes, she was so much fun and brought us so much joy and happiness! Above all, she cared deeply about us and was always concerned that her close friends and family were content and happy in their daily lives.
Jodi was an optimist, and as a member of the Optimist Club, she would have wanted us to be happy and positive about the future. She often would say “I love life!” However, we have to admit it is very hard for us to always be that way. We have our moments when we are very sad, bitter, and angry that this has happened to our ‘Little Sue,’ as we affectionately called her. She had such a bright future ahead of her, and she should be here every day enjoying it.
We never thought a tragedy like this would happen to our family. Jodi was on guard about her personal safety. She lived on the straight and narrow and was very concerned about her reputation wherever she went.
To law enforcement: we are grateful for the work that you have done and continue to do in Jodi’s case, but we must continue to pursue all leads that come in and not dismiss any of them as insignificant. Please be willing to listen and accept help from others. We need all the assistance we can get in solving this case. Many times, the guilty party lives within a few miles of the victim. As we’ve said before, it could be someone we least suspect.
Finally, there are not enough words to express our gratitude for all of the time and effort that the two groups, FindJodi.com and Jodi’s Network of Hope, have put in for Jodi over the years. To the FindJodi.com team, your knowledge, experience, and dedication have kept Jodi’s case out in the forefront, and we know that your work is making a difference, both for Jodi’s case and others. To Jodi’s Network of Hope, your efforts in keeping Jodi’s legacy alive, such as scholarships and safety training, are simply amazing, and we know that Jodi would be in awe of everything you have done in her name
‘Thank you’ is simply not big enough to express our gratitude and appreciation to both of these groups.
You all are saints in our eyes for volunteering your personal time for Jodi, and you all should be richly blessed someday.
Again, thank you all for the support you’ve shown today and for being so dedicated to our Jodi and her case. It’s time to bring Jodi home.
Sincerely, Jodi’s family
and an investigator with the Mason City Police Department said the case is still very much active.
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