Jodi Sue Huisentruit

Missing Person: Legally Declared Dead

Jodi Sue Huisentruit
27 YOA
Key Apartments
600 North Kentucky Ave.
Mason City, IA
Cerro Gordo County
Investigating Agency: Mason City Police Department
Case # 95-08176
NCIC # M-844559811
NamUs MP # 402
Dentals: Available
DNA: Available
Missing Since: June 27, 1995

Case summary compiled by Jody Ewing

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 27, 1995, CBS affiliate KIMT-TV morning and noon anchor woman and producer Jodi Sue Huisentruit was abducted from the parking lot of her apartment located at 600 North Kentucky Avenue in Mason City, Iowa.

Huisentruit —  a St. Cloud State University graduate — usually arrived at work between 3 and 4 a.m., and when she hadn’t arrived by 4:00 a.m., her producer, Amy Kuns, called her. Huisentruit answered the phone, told Kuns she had overslept, and stated she’d be at the station shortly. Nothing in Huisentruit’s tone of voice indicated any undue stress.

The 27-year-old petite anchor was never heard from again.

When Huisentruit still hadn’t arrived at work by 7:00 a.m., Kuns became alarmed and called Mason City police, asking them to check on Jodi’s well being.

Upon their arrival, officers discovered a number of Huisentruit’s personal possessions strewn about the parking lot, including Jodi’s purse, hair spray, hair dryer, and a pair of red high-heeled shoes. Huisentruit usually carried these items to and from work in a canvas tote bag.

The key to Huisentruit’s vehicle was found bent inside the lock on the driver’s side door. Mason City Police Lt. Frank Stearns said drag marks were visible on the rain-soaked pavement.

Interviews with neighbors revealed that screams had been heard, but the apartment building was located near a campground and the screams were dismissed as nothing more than noisy campers.

Stearns believes the crime was committed by a single individual — likely one who knew Huisentruit. Prior to joining KIMT, the Minnesota native had worked briefly as a flight attendant.

Jodi’s canvas tote bag — in which she often carried her notebooks and computer diskettes — was not found at the scene and has never been located.

Nearly Two Decades, Thousands of Tips

In the years following her disappearance, investigators followed up on thousands of tips and interviewed more than 1,000 people.

In June 2008, a copy of Jodi’s personal journal was sent anonymously to a Mason City Globe Gazette reporter. The journal contained more than 80 pages where Huisentruit spelled out her personal goals.

In a KIMT-TV story airing June 23, 2008, Mason City Police Chief Mike Lashbrook confirmed the copy of the journal was real and the same copy given to police, the DCI and FBI. Further investigation revealed a former police chief’s wife had sent the copy to the Globe Gazette.

JoAnn Nathe, Huisentruit’s sister, told she believed the perpetrator either knew Jodi personally or had stalked her because the individual was privy to her sister’s early-morning schedule.

“There was no indication of a stalker whatsoever,” said Stearns in the Fox News story dated June 11, 2013.

Huisentruit was legally declared dead in May 2001, and though names of several persons of interest emerged, one in particular remains on police radar. Said Fox News:

John Vansice, a neighbor and friend of Huisentruit’s, immediately came forward and said he was the last person to see the news anchor alive, according to police. Vansice, who was much older than Huisentruit, told detectives that she had visited his apartment the night before, and that the two had watched a video Vansice filmed of Huisentruit’s birthday part just weeks earlier. Vansice denied any connection to the abduction and has since moved from Iowa to Phoenix, Ariz. He could not be reached when contacted by

“To this day, he [Vansice] is still a person of interest,” Stearns said.

Jim Feldhaus Courtesy photo Globe Gazette
Retired computer programmer and researcher Jim Feldhaus spent nearly two decades tracking down leads in Huisentruit’s case.

Nathe believed Vansice was “fixated” on her sister, even though Jodi had never once mentioned his name to her.

Nathe told Fox News she also isn’t convinced that only one person was responsible for the crime. Nathe said her sister’s landlord reported hearing “two different male voices” in the parking lot at the time and the sound of a loud muffler.

Jim Feldhaus — a Canistota, S.D. retired computer programmer for the University of South Dakota at Brookings and a former researcher for 3M in Minnesota — spent nearly 18 years voluntarily interviewing potential suspects and tracking down information on Huisentruit’s case.

Feldhaus, a U.S. Army veteran with degrees in chemistry and computer science, tipped off law enforcement officials and the media whenever he uncovered new tips or leads, and in 2005 told the Globe Gazette the case represented an “obsession” he wanted to solve.

Feldhaus, 79, passed away Oct. 10, 2013 at a Sioux Falls hospice.

The Huisentruit File: Ep. 1, The Case — Courtesy YouTube

When the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) established a Cold Case Unit in 2009, Huisentruit’s disappearance was one of approximately 150 cases listed on the Cold Case Unit’s new website as those the DCI hoped to solve using latest advancements in DNA technology.

Although federal grant funding for the DCI Cold Case Unit was exhausted in December 2011, the DCI continues to assign agents to investigate cold cases as new leads develop or as technological advances allow for additional forensic testing of original evidence.

The DCI remains committed to the resolution of Iowa’s cold cases and will continue to work diligently with local law enforcement partners to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice for the victims and their families.

Dental information and charting is available and entered in Huisentruit’s case.

A DNA sample has been submitted and tests are complete.

Bednar offers detailed crime theories in her book about Jodi Huisentruit’s disappearance.
“Dead Air”

In 2011, former KAAL-TV6 Minnesota news anchor Beth Bednar tackled the mysteries surrounding Huisentruit’s disappearance in her book, “Dead Air – The Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit.”

Bednar, who spent two decades in the broadcast news industry, interviewed Huisentruit’s colleagues, her friends and acquaintances in Mason City, family members and friends, law enforcement officials, and a number of other sources from Minnesota to Iowa.

The book presents several detailed crime theories regarding those considered persons of interest, and explores Huisentruit’s connection to other unsolved Iowa murders.

“Dead Air” has been described as “old-style true crime journalism at its best.”

While the Mason City community continues to mark the anniversary of Huisentruit’s disappearance every year, police await the one solid tip they need to bring to an end the city’s most infamous cold case.

About Jodi Huisentruit

Jodi Sue Huisentruit was born June 5, 1968, to Imogene L. “Jane” (Anderson) and Maurice Huisentruit, and grew up in Long Prairie, Minnesota.

She twice was a member of the state champion high school golf team in Long Prairie.

She graduated from St. Cloud State University, and worked briefly at an Alexandria television station before moving to Mason City to work for CBS affiliate KIMT-TV. There, she worked as a morning and noon news anchor and producer between 3 and 4 a.m.

She was abducted from her Mason City apartment’s parking lot at 600 North Kentucky Avenue on Tuesday morning, June 27, 1995, while preparing to leave for work. Her disappearance prompted one of the largest manhunts in Iowa history, with her case featured on several national television programs, including America’s Most Wanted, Unsolved Mysteries, 20/20, Nancy Grace, Psychic Detectives and numerous other talk shows.

Jodi's mother, Jane Huisentruit, died Dec. 9, 2014 (Courtesy WJON)

Jodi’s mother, Jane Huisentruit, died Dec. 9, 2014 (Courtesy WJON)

In addition to her mother, she was survived by two sisters: JoAnn Nathe of Sauk Center; Jill Lettau, and many other loved ones.

Her father preceded her in death in 1982.

Jodi was legally declared dead in May 2001.

Her mother, Imogene L. “Jane” Huisentruit, died Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, at CentraCare Health Systems in Long Prairie without ever discovering what happened to her daughter.

She was 91 years old.

A January 1994 journal entry Jodi wrote the year before she went missing shined a beaming light into a world where she’d hoped to make a difference. Her entry read:

“Live with passion daily. Be passionate in everyday life. Live the way I want to live — be generous, kind.” ~ January 1994 excerpt from Jodi Huisentruit’s personal journal 

Statement from Lt. Frank Stearns, Mason City Police Department

The Iowa Cold Cases website (and other sites featuring Ms. Huisentruit’s case) has received multiple e-mails and correspondence from James L. McIntyre, who continues to insist that Ms. Huisentruit’s body was recovered during the week of September 29 – October 1, 1997, and that her remains are in the care of Dr. David L. Frederickson MD ME in the Stearns County Medical Examiner’s office in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Mr. McIntyre also has alleged that Ms. Huisentruit was murdered by Keith Dwayne Nelson.

Lieutenant Frank Stearns, the Criminal Investigations Division Commander for the Mason City Police Department has released an official statement to Iowa Cold Cases that should put Mr. McIntyre’s false allegations to rest once and for all.

Lt. Stearns’ statement on February 7, 2013, reads as follows:

The Mason City Police Department has checked into Mr. McIntyer’s allegations on several occasions, and we have found that none of what he is alleging is true. I have asked him to stop making these allegations but he continues to do so.

Any further allegations Mr. McIntyre posts on this website will be promptly deleted.

Information Needed

If you have any information concerning Jodi Huisentruit’s unsolved disappearance please contact Lt. Frank Stearns at the Mason City Police Department at (641) 421-3001.

An in-depth website dedicated to solving Jodi’s case may be found at

Sources and Additional References:


Copyright © 2016 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

36 Responses to Jodi Huisentruit

  1. Josh Benson says:

    Please remove Mr. McIntyre’s information from your website’s comments section. Many people believe the information he posts is true. They are contacting our website, authorities and family members of these ‘new developments. They are not new. Mr. McIntyre has been spreading this information for years and is only clouding the investigation with his conspiracies and incorrect information. Mr. McIntyre has zero basis for any claims he makes and authorities in several states deny any knowledge of such claims.

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Josh, we’ve deleted Mr. McIntyre’s comments in the past but he continued to repost them. ICC’s Kerry Connolly recently contacted Lt. Frank Stearns from the Mason City Police Department, and he issued an official statement regarding McIntyre’s allegations. I’ve provided a link to Lt. Stearns’ statement at the bottom of Jodi’s case summary. I’ve also deleted Mr. McIntyre’s latest comment, and any further comments he makes will be promptly deleted.

      Thanks so much for all you do in behalf of keeping Jodi’s memory alive.

      Best wishes,

      Jody Ewing
      Iowa Cold Cases Founder

      • Laura says:

        You lose all credibility when you start picking and choosing based on opinions rather then FACTS. Everyone has a right to their own opinions… based on FACTS. When you delete comments which clearly question your intention…. you lose and so do your readers.

        • Kim says:

          Unfortunately, Mr. McIntyre’s comments are not based on any facts, as per the statement issued by the Mason City Police Dept., which is the investigating authority over Jodi Huisentruit’s case. Mr. McIntyre has posted similar comments on several other sites dedicated to unsolved crimes/true crimes and his statements have been thoroughly…and I mean thoroughly…debunked by law enforcement officials. The only one who loses any credibility is the person who sadly keeps perpetuating the myth that Jodi’s body has lain unclaimed in a St. Cloud, Minn. morgue since 1997. Jodi’s case has always been high profile and any unidentified female remains that have ever been recovered, particularly in Minnesota or Iowa, would be completely investigated to see if there was a match. The intention of this site is not to spread false rumors or myths about any of the crimes listed on here, but rather to share FACTS of these cold cases with the public in hopes of solving them. Mr. McIntyre’s comments have been proven several times over by several different law enforcement agencies that they are not FACT, they’re a MYTH, and therefore have no place on a site dedicated to FACTS.

          • Jody Ewing says:

            Thank you, Kim, for a comment that clearly explains our position when it comes to Mr. McIntyre’s posts. We included the link to Lt. Frank Stearns’ official statement so readers could see for themselves that the Mason City Police Dept. has already investigated Mr. McIntyre’s allegation and proven it to be false. The MCPD has also repeatedly asked Mr. McIntyre to stop spreading this lie, yet he continues to do so.

            Mr. McIntyre has been “using” our website to perpetuate a lie, and for us to allow him to continue this practice would be irresponsible.


  2. Theresa says:

    It is nice to know people are honest enough to say when interviewed, “that screams had been heard”. Yet not one person found the hour odd or found the screams (plural!) desperate and called the police. I am sure the investigators asked why, but OMG!

  3. sally says:

    Stearns was there. Too perfect of a crime. Hes got a trophy her drivers license. Why would he need a drivers license when theres tons of her picture everywhere.

    • mike says:

      are you saying the detective that is on the case did this ?

    • Kim says:

      Just because Lt. Stearns has Jodi’s driver’s license doesn’t mean he was in any way involved in her abduction. Jodi’s DL was probably in her purse, which was recovered at the scene. It’s not unusual for detectives, especially those who deal with cold cases or have worked cases that have gone cold to keep a picture or some sort of memento of the victim, just to keep the victim’s memory alive and remind them what they are working for. Nothing at all sinister in that, either.

  4. Kindra says:

    I just say the story about Jodi on OWN. One of her coworker’s interview seemed alarming. Does anyone know if Amy Kuns was treated as a suspect?

    • Dawn says:

      Yes something is off with Amy. I recently did some research on how to spot a lie by involuntary/subconcius facial expressions and head movements and Amy presses each red flag. I bet she is in the list, if not The List.

  5. Kat says:

    I have someone of interest for law enforcement to check out.
    Is he involved…??? I don’t know…but I do know he lives 1 hour from Mason City IA in New Hampton IA & he definitely could have harmed someone…or worse.
    I dated this person back in 2003-2004 & he was SCARY 2 months into our relationship. Again, idk if he had anything to do w it but would be great for all the people involved to know what did so ANY INFO SHOULD BE CHECKED OUT !!
    Law enforcement…if you’re interested…email me & we can exchange contact info etc
    I will be waiting.
    Thank you
    PS..this IS NOT A JOKE either ! I’m not saying I have guaranteed info but after watching 20/20 ON OWN…this person immediately came to mind.

  6. natwatson11 says:

    Kat, did law enforcement follow up with you? I just watched this on youtube and was interested if there was any progress?

  7. Kris Starks says:

    This one still haunts me to this very day! :(

  8. Wendy Holman says:

    you aren’t forgotten Jodi Huisentruit

  9. Prayers with the family and friends.

  10. This case, along with the other cold cases need solved so these folks have justice!!!

  11. so sad we live in a world where this kind of thing happens

  12. Kath Peiffer says:

    Could this John McIntyre be considered a suspect? He seems to want to insert himself into this investigation pretty badly.

  13. Kath Peiffer says:

    …I meant “James” McIntyre…

  14. I remember this…soo sad.

  15. Jodi Lake says:

    This case has haunted me. Partially because my name is Jodi, too! This is one for the experts.

  16. This is so sad. It was right before I started at Waldorf.

  17. Sam Whipple says:

    I was just a small child but I remember this. She has to be found and peace brought to family, friends, and the whole newscast.

  18. It seems that guilty people tend to push a subject for continual attention, if it drops, they are not happy, keep pressing and averting the blame in a different direction – cops are not stupid, people need to give them more credit than that – especially due to the notoriety of this case.

  19. Sue Herman says:

    Has case 158UFCO DOE Network been checked out? Also, as many follow the DOE network, were there ever indentifiers released like color of tote bag, dental characteristics, scars, clothing, jewelry, etc?

  20. Chave says:

    I hope they find closure for Jodi’s family, I know at this point they will possibly not find her alive, maybe just remains and my heart goes out to her family and friends! I would never want to live something like this. Jodi, I’m confident that the detectives handling your case will bring you home one day, maybe they just need a different set of eyes! God be with you guys that are family and detectives handling this case. There will be justice Jodi!

  21. John Parker says:

    I have followed this case for as long as I can remember. I was 15 when this happened and have never forgot about Jodi. I still have a weird feeling that someone that lived in that apartment complex is guilty of this crime. I'm sure everyone was picked apart that lived there, it just seems like the ultimate crime of opportunity. The red flag this case presents is the fact they found the key bent in her car door. This tells me someone came up from behind and attacked her as she was putting the key in the door, as evidenced by her bag on the ground, and the screams her neighbors heard. I think this person(s) lived in her complex, knew she was on the news, and what schedule she kept. I think they saw their chance in a young, petite, attractive blonde. I think this person was in their 20's and is a white male. This person lived in that complex, or had close ties with someone that did. Of course all this is speculation on my part. I hope someday we get a break in this case.

  22. I remember that day she disappeared too

  23. I have vivid dreams about this. It haunts me. :(

  24. It is so sad that her remains have never been found.

  25. J. Kohls says:

    I just watched this show again and every time I watch it I get sick to my stomach. I hope someday they do find Jodi and she can have a decent service. I cannot imagine that she would still be alive and her family and friends have to still be devastated with how she disappeared. This is a scary world we live in and I hope whoever did this to this innocent woman gets his punishment if not here when he leaves this world if he hasn’t already. There is a special place in hell for people like this.

  26. Fred V Allen says:


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