Saturday marks 20 years since the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit. The 27-year-old Long Prairie, Minnesota native was abducted outside her Mason City apartment early on June 27th, 1995.
Police found her car, blood, other personal belongings and evidence of a struggle in the parking lot. Investigators say the case remains open and they’re following leads.
Lieutenant Rich Jensen, of the Mason City Police Department, says they’ve been committed to the case since that morning 20 years ago. He says their goal is to find Jodi and hold those responsible for what happened to her. He says there are a lot of things about the case they haven’t been able to discuss to preserve the sanctity of the case because their expectation is to be in a courtroom someday holding a defendant accountable.
Jensen says it’s frustrating not being able to talk about the case openly, especially when people question whether it’s a case that can be solved. He says they want people to know that they are working on the case and are committed to it. Jensen says the public wants answers, but they can’t provide those answers. He says there is frustration that the case can’t be discussed more since it’s an ongoing criminal case and anything said could jeopardize the case in the future.
Mason City police investigator Terrance Prochaska says he’s taken tips from people across the country regarding possible leads and it’s tough when he can’t even tell those people whether or not their tips helped. He says some people will call back in a month and ask about the outcome of their tip, and it’s tough not to tell them anything. He explains to the person that the “bad guy is still out there…and he’s still listening or watching” and if the bad guy hears any of that information, it gives him an opportunity to hide.
Prochaska says they take every tip seriously. He says they never overlook leads, even from psychics, and they listen to other people’s theories. Prochaska says someone may have a better idea of how they can look at the case or suggest looking someplace new and possibly develop some sort of lead out of it or find something they’ve missed before.
The Mason City Police Department continues to work with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as leads develop. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Mason City Police at 641-421-3636. Huisentriut was declared legally dead in 2001.
(Reporting by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)