An agent for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says there’s no evidence two Mason City police officers and a former D.C.I. agent were involved in the 1996 disappearance of former KIMT anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit. Chris Calloway testified this morning during the Civil Service Commission hearing on the termination of police officer Maria Ohl, who says she an unnamed informant implicated Lt. Frank Stearns and Lt.
Ron Vande Weerd of the Mason City Police Department and former D.C.I. agent Bill Basler in Huisentruit’s disappearance. Calloway says he talked Thursday to the “informant” that made the allegations to Ohl. He says the informant denies making the allegations.
He says the informant was irrational when speaking with him, being hard to understand, but the substance is that he never said that Basler, the Mason City Police Department or any of their officers were involved in the disappearance of Huisentruit. Attorney Susan Bernau, representing the city, asked Calloway if there was any credible information about police in 1995 trying to cover up an upcoming news report from Huisentruit that would have been a black eye to the department.
He says there’s been an investigation into those allegations and there’s nothing that can substantiate the claims. Calloway says there wasn’t any information that Ohl provided that connects Huisentruit’s disappearance to law enforcement. Ohl called her brother-in-law, Pastor Shane Philpott, to the stand to testify, but there were several instances where Beth Hansen, a Waterloo attorney residing over the hearing, wouldn’t allow him to talk about his observations on why Ohl was fired.
Hansen told Ohl that the hearing was not to determine whether or not the Mason City Police Department uses good or bad procedure, that it is simply to decide if Ohl violated the rules of her workplace. One question Philpott was allowed to answer was regarding an answer given by Ohl during a deposition that drew a reaction from Police Chief Mike Lashbrook.
Ohl took the stand late this morning and was continuing to testify in her case. You can listen to recordings of today’s testimony as well as a live feed of hearing by heading to the local news page at discovernorthiowa.com
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City