Twelve years ago today, Mason City TV anchor Jodi Huisentruit disappeared from her apartment complex parking lot — and investigators are still looking into the case, hoping to find an answer to the mystery. Mason City Police Lieutenant Ron Vande Weerd says they still get calls from people, not only locally, but from across the country.
He says: "Jodi’s case is a national case and we still get in tips and leads. This case is a very important case to the people and it certainly has captured their interest." Vande Weerd says one of the challenges of the investigation is replacing people who’ve been working on the case for years as they retire or move onto another job. The last two years have seen a Minnesota woman lying to police, saying she saw Jodi being murdered by kidnappers on a farm near Mason City, as well as a man thinking she might be buried near his cabin on Eagle Lake in Hancock County.
Vande Weerd says they are cautious when things like that pop up before thinking they may have a solution to the case. He says, "Over the years, unfortunately, we have chased a lot of red herrings. We are guarded when new information comes in. We want to check it out before we start getting too excited. We have had some hot ones and then when it does not pan out, it is frustrating."
Vande Weerd says if someone thinks they have any information about the case, no matter how old it is, they should call the police department. If you think you have any information regarding Huisentruit’s disappearance, you can call the Mason City Police Department at (641) 421-3636. Meanwhile, the trial of the Minnesota woman accused of providing false information to police last December about the Huisentruit case will start on August 23rd in Cerro Gordo County District Court.
Twenty-five-year-old Cynthia Sweeney, of Ankoa, Minnesota, faces charges of making a false report to a public safety entity and malicious prosecution. If convicted, she could face up to a year in prison on each charge.