Iowa news anchor Jodi Huisentruit was just 27 years old when she disappeared. In June of 1995, Jodi failed to show up for the morning news on KIMT-TV. After trying and failing to reach her, the producers of the show called the police to check on the reporter. They never found her.
The Day She Disappeared
The police found signs of a struggle near her car outside the apartment building where she lived. They discovered her work shoes, along with hairspray and a hair dryer, suggesting that she’d been on her way to work when she was grabbed. Neighbors claim to have heard screams around 4 o’clock in the morning and reported seeing an unfamiliar white van in the parking lot.
Unfortunately, there was very little forensic evidence at the scene. Jodi’s car key–bent from where she desperately tried to unlock her door–was on the ground nearby. Police also found a partial palm print on the car itself, but no match was ever found.
The story became national news–a pretty, popular local TV personality disappearing without a trace simply isn’t something that happens every day.
“The fear that Jodi Huisentruit’s abduction stirs is widely shared,” reads an article from the Des Moines Register published shortly after her abduction. “Women’s vulnerability to crime is well understood, though not talked about much, perhaps because it’s a fact of life, however abhorred, and because it is usually harassment or robbery or rape, but not a disappearance into thin air.”
The Search Continues
On the 10th anniversary of her disappearance, Police Sergeant Frank Stearns told the local paper that he “just can’t let it go. It becomes a part of you.” Stearns said, “There’s nothing I’d rather do in my life right now than bring closure to the family.”
Friends, family, fellow journalists, and retired police offers have continued to update the website FindJodi.com in the hopes of finally discovering answers. In 2017, a new warrant was served to investigate John Vansice, a friend of Jodi’s who has long been implicated in her disappearance.
Could This Be the Answer?
At the time she vanished, police believed that Vansice was the last person to have seen her alive the night before. He was interviewed and given a polygraph test at the time, but there were always some people who believed that Vansice knew more than he was saying.
“I have been crucified by this community. … I have been crucified by the media,” Vansice told reporters in 1995. “I have friends who won’t talk to me.”
Vansice is now 72 years old and lives in Arizona. While the actual warrant is sealed, it’s clear that the Macon County Police Department still has some questions for him. Although Jodi Huisentruit was declared legally dead in 2001, people still haven’t given up on finding her.