A recently-fired Mason City police officer says law enforcement may have had a hand in the abduction and possible murder of a former Mason City TV anchorwoman.
Maria Ohl made the allegations that two members of the Mason City Police Department and a retired investigator with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation were involved in the abduction of Jodi Huisentruit back in June 1995.
Ohl says the credible information from an informant implicates Lt. Frank Stearns, Lt. Ron Vande Weerd and retired DCI investigator Bill Basler. Her comments came after a meeting of the city’s Civil Service Commission on Thursday.
Ohl was placed on paid administrative leave last year and says she was dismissed in August because of her handling of the Huisentruit information.
Ohl last year filed claims of sexual and religious discrimination and retaliation against the department with the Mason City Human Rights Commission and filed a lawsuit in federal court.
Ohl stated in a deposition that her church affiliation with the Christian Fellowship Church may have played a part in her being denied promotional opportunities.
The church was awarded a nearly $85,000 settlement of a suit against the city, Police Chief Mike Lashbrook and Lt. Logan Wernet that claimed both Lashbrook and Wernet made damaging remarks against the church.
Lashbrook and City Administrator Brent Trout have both declined to comment about the case due to the pending civil service hearing and pending litigation.
Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City