billy-pruin-and-daughterCourtesy photo findjodi.com
Billy Pruin and his daughter

William Thomas “Billy” Pruin

Undetermined

Billy Pruin
43 YOA
PO Box 411
Mason City, IA
Cerro Gordo County
April 4, 1995

 

 
 
 

On April 6, 2018, Iowa Cold Cases received information about this case and will be reviewing its status with the Mason City Police Department and Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office.

William Thomas “Billy” Pruin, 43, was shot at his rural Mason City, Iowa, home on Tuesday, April 4, 1995.

Cerro Gordo County in Iowa
Cerro Gordo County in Iowa
 
Mason City in Cerro Gordo CountyMason City in Cerro Gordo County

Two days before his death, he’d proposed to his girlfriend, Gretchen Tusler.

Officials initially ruled his death a suicide, but later changed the status to undetermined.

KIMT-TV morning and noon anchor Jodi Huisentruit was allegedly investigating Pruin’s death when she went missing nearly three months later on June 27, 1995. Huisentruit’s body has never been recovered and her case also remains unsolved.

Evidence suggests intruder, scuffle

The day of his death, Pruin drove his pickup to Mason City to pick up a new tractor he had purchased from Brakke Implement. Pruin left his pickup at the dealership and drove the new tractor to his rural Mason City home. Calls to Pruin that night went unanswered.

A friend stopped by Pruin’s home the following day and found the door open about four inches, the keys still in the outside lock. After calling out to Pruin and getting no response, the friend left.

Pruin’s mother went to check on him Thursday, and found her son dead in the dining room, a gunshot wound to his chest. Nearby lay a spent .44 magnum slug from Pruin’s gun.

Jodi Huisentruit

Jodi Huisentruit, 27, went missing from her Mason City apartment June 27, 1995.

According to a FindJodi.com article published May 9, 2006 by KAAL’s Gary Peterson, a Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s report stated there were no identifiable prints on the revolver Pruin reportedly had in his hand. His hands were placed in paper bags, the report stated, but there was no record of any gunshot residue on either hand or on any of Pruin’s clothing.

Pruin’s fiancée said he was “afraid of something,” several weeks before his death, Peterson said.

Before writing his May 2006 report, Peterson said he’d sat down with Lanee Good, one of the people who knew both Jodi and Bill. Good believes, Peterson wrote, that Pruin was in a hurry to get into his house. He left his keys in the outside lock of the door, crossed the kitchen and entered the dining room, getting his revolver. Somehow his revolver discharged, and Good believes there was a struggle and Pruin was shot.

In her book “Dead Air – The Disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit,” author Beth Bednar also cited possible connections between Pruin’s death and Huisentruit’s disappearance.

In a Dec. 2, 2011 phone interview with Iowa Cold Cases’ Jody Ewing, Bednar said Huisentruit’s 1995 disappearance and Pruin’s death possibly have ties to Gerald Best’s December 1999 murder as well as the brutal Copper Dollar Ranch murders of 17-year-old Melisa Gregory and Steven Fisher, 20, in March 1983.

On Feb. 20, 2015, a Black Hawk County jury found Fisher’s estranged wife, Theresa “Terri” Supino, not guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the Gregory/Fisher double homicide.

Pruin’s cause of death remains officially listed as “Undetermined,” though the lack of gunshot residue on his hands and clothing suggests he neither pulled the trigger on the .44 Magnum nor fired the fatal shot.

About Billy Pruin
Billy Pruin gravestoneCourtesy JFINK, findagrave.com
William “Billy” Pruin is buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.

William Thomas “Billy” Pruin was born October 22, 1951, the son of William Pruin and Shirley Ann Pruin. He died Tuesday, April 4, 1995.

Pruin’s survivors included two children; his mother, Shirley Ann Pruin Carroll; and sisters Laura and Linda.

His father, William, preceded him in death in 1958.

Pruin was laid to rest in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Rockwell, Iowa.

Pruin’s mother passed away June 2, 2007.

Information Needed

Anyone with information regarding Billy Pruin’s unsolved case is asked to contact the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 421-3000.

Sources:

 

Copyright © 2018 Iowa Cold Cases, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

11 Responses to Billy Pruin

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Jack, I respectfully must disagree. The answers are in the details. 1) Why would he drive to town and bring home a new tractor if he just planned to commit suicide? 2) Why were there no identifiable handprints on the gun? (A dead person can’t wipe off prints from a gun.) 3) More Importantly: Pruin’s hands and clothing *were* tested and there was no record of any gunshot residue on either hand or on any of Pruin’s clothing.

      The current theory is that someone entered Pruin’s home while he went to town to get the tractor, and then lay in wait until he returned home and shot Pruin using Pruin’s gun.

      There is far more information about this case that I can’t include on Billy’s case summary page because it involves nearly a dozen other connected eastern Iowa unsolved homicides. And, I have been “warned.”

  1. Never heard of this, or the connection to Jody Husentruit.

  2. Never heard of this one.

  3. Herb Hunter says:

    Jody may have been warned, but I have not. But unlike her, some of us have evidence, speculation, and the roots of good old fashion detective work . . .

    The Mason City PD had too many guns missing, not to mention the fact that there was a gun and drug ring swirling in the area at the time of Billy’s death. There is also the fact that Jodi was perhaps running this story down, as well as running down the meth trade plaguing the area at the time.

    Billy was killed by cops and Jodi was killed by cops. Why? Because they had control of the physical evidence that they said led to anonymous killers. Don’t believe me? Look up this case: http://www.14news.com/story/5629270/break-in-19-year-old-murder-case/

    The MCPD were just as dirty. When they switched over guns, many of the old ones simply disappeared.

    Then they fired that patrol officer for spilling it.

    When a detective says looking for Jodi is a “hunt” the criminal profiles at the FBI’s ears perk up. The on camera he “got a call” and did it for an audience. Typical serial killer profile for those who care to look.

    When Jodi is running down a story that puts MCPD at the center of speculation in a drugs and guns ring after multiple guns are missing, she ends up “missing.”

    So while Jody was warned, Jodi from the grave has nothing to lose. The cops are dirty. One only needs to look at Billy, Jodi, and Gerald to find out. . .

  4. Mike williams says:

    I am curious, how could there have been a spent .44 magnum cartridge casing laying on the floor if he was shot with a revolver????

    • Jody Ewing says:

      Mike, thanks for catching that; obviously it should have been “slug” rather than “casing” and I’ve corrected that. I’d typed up the initial case summary based on notes from phone conversations and email correspondence with others, along with references to the data cited from Gary Peterson’s post at the findjodi.com website. My fast-typing fingers appear to have gotten ahead of me as I went through my notes. Can’t believe I didn’t catch it at the time. Thanks again.

  5. K N says:

    “A friend stopped by Pruin’s home the following day and found the door open about four inches, the keys still in the outside lock. After calling out to Pruin and getting no response, the friend left.”
    Some friend..
    Did this friend already know what was inside if he or she went in?

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