An independent investigator hired by Mason City officials testified during Tuesday during the Civil Service hearing of a former police officer who claimed local and state law officers were involved in the disappearance of a local TV anchorwoman.
Retired law officer Neil Schultz of Des Moines was hired by the city to look into Maria Ohl’s claims surrounding the disappearance of K-I-M-T anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit.
Schultz says Ohl admitted re-recording the informant’s information from her squad car’s internal video system to document her claims, but didn’t log it in as required by department policy. Schultz says when Ohl re-recorded the information and added her own comments, she did not enter that into evidence. Schultz said during his interview that Ohl had always feared for her safety while with the police department, especially after a talking with an officer from a different part of the state that Mason City was full of “dirty cops”.
She also feared for the safety of others. Schultz says Ohl was afraid for her family and anyone who talked with her about the information she had. He says Ohl would hear noises outside her house and was afraid someone was after her. He was asked if she said anything about coming home in the dark and her safety and if she felt someone was going to kill her, and Schultz said “yes.” Schultz says Ohl fear extended beyond the Mason City Department.
“There was literally no other law enforcement agency that she trusted…every agency that we talked about, she had some reason to mistrust them,” Schultz said. He says her mistrust was a concern to him as an investigator because “there wasn’t apparent that there was a reason for it.”
Schultz says that Ohl admitted at times having troubles remembering things, which led him to recommend to city officials that she undergo an evaluation to determine if she was mentally fit for duty. Ohl is appealing her dismissal from the police department to the city’s Civil Service Commission, saying she was dismissed because of her claims surrounding Huisentruit. City officials say Schultz’s investigation led them to conclude Ohl’s claims had no basis.
Ohl’s hearing will take a two-day break before it continues again Friday.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City