Iowa Cold Cases Founder, President
Jody is an author and freelance writer based in West Central Iowa. She began writing at age eight, both penning and illustrating her dog-napping short story, “The Mystery of Kalo’s Disappearance.” She has worked for The Sioux City Journal and Weekender, and has more than 500 published feature stories and articles (unrelated to cold cases).
She is the author of One Way: Bumps and Detours on the Road to Adulthood — a collection of humorous and inspirational essays about childhood and growing up — and has several other books in progress (both fiction and nonfiction), including the upcoming novels, Major Renovations and Somebody Knows Something.
Jody launched the Iowa Cold Cases website (originally at iowacoldcases.com) in 2005 after working on a Sioux City cold case series for the Weekender. A website that began as a handful of case summaries from the Siouxland area now has expanded to include more than 600 cases from all across Iowa.
Two years after launching the site, Jody’s stepfather of 25 years — Earl Thelander of Onawa, IA — died from burns sustained in a house explosion after copper thieves cut and stole propane gas lines at a rural Monona County home he and Jody’s mother Hope were preparing for a renter. Jody added “Dad Earl” to the site in 2008 after officials announced his case had gone cold. It remains unsolved.
Jody graduated magna cum laude from Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (Communications and Social Science) and Criminal Justice Studies.
She is the mother of three children — Bill, Jennifer, and Rhett — and shares her 100-year-old home with longtime partner Dennis, son Rhett, dogs Bear, Hagan, Jack, Copper and Quincy, and an African Grey parrot named Clyde who thinks he’s a World War II pilot.
Visit Jody’s website