billy-pruin-and-daughterCourtesy photo
Billy Pruin and his daughter

William Thomas “Billy” Pruin


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 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,
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.



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26 Responses to Billy Pruin

  1. Paul Andrew Anderson says:

    People need to watch the 20/20 episode January 29, 2022 with Bill Pruins 2 daughters about the Jodi Huisentruit case with Krystal and Scarlett and their setting the record straight saying there is no connection between their dad’s death and Jodi’s disappearance. They want to people to stop with the rumors they are hurtful to both of them. The police, both of them Krystal and Scarlett and the private investigator are saying their dad Bill Pruins was not murdered but was an accidental shooting and there was no indication of foul play but an accident! They want the rumors stopped period and let their dad rest in peace and whatever his legacy will be so I agree with them let this go their dad wasn’t murdered but an accident.

  2. Kim says:

    I don’t know if anyone watched the 20/20 episode about Jody Huisentruit’s case, but Billy’s case was discussed as well during the episode. There were rumors that his case was linked with Jodi’s, but according to the private investigator that Billy’s daughters hired, the shooting was accidental. According to the episode, Billy had been carrying the gun and somehow tripped and fell on it, causing it to discharge. If that’s true, then his case isn’t linked to Jodi’s disappearance and his death was a tragic accident. The 20/20 episode is entitled “Gone at Dawn” and just aired on 1/28/22.

  3. Paul says:

    Bill Pruins daughters did an interview with 20/20 and say there is no connection between his death and Jodi’s case and they wan the rumors to stop. His daughter’s, the Police, and private investigator all agree his death was an unfortunate accident and they want his legacy to be what it may be so again they want the rumors to stop.

  4. Patrick Kerrigan says:

    It sounds like there is a major problem in Mason City, Iowa. It would be nice of an outside agency to come in and investigative. Maybe, we can get the KGB, to get to the bottom. They don’t have to worry about being probable cause, warrants, or Miranda rights. They will figure out the truth. Then the bad guys can be sent to some salt mines in Siberia.

  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?

  6. 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 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.

      • Terry says:

        Okay if it was the spent bullet laying there it would have had to go through him and I thought the report said that the bullet went into the ceiling. It would have then had to fall next to the gun. Makes no sense.

  7. 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:

    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. . .

    • Cody says:

      Interesting Herb. Regarding Jodi, I personally think it was JV. thing has always bothered me and that is the white van & laptop. Why would JV keep her laptop? How would he gain access to a vehicle that could not be traced back to him in any way? Seems to me the MCPD would have those resources. Pristine clean crime scene too..

      • Cody says:

        After re-reading Jody E’s response to my comment on Gerald Best’s page, I stand corrected. It’s not the MCPD we are talking about here. There is another PD somewhere in the region that could be responsible. Jody, I hope everything you know can come out in a book or something someday. What I would give to pick your brain!

  8. Never heard of this one.

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

    • 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.”

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