What Happened To The Popular News Anchor Who Disappeared Over 20 Years Ago?

News anchor Jodi Huisentruit disappeared on June 27, 1995 without a trace.

A 48 Hours investigation has revealed that information could soon lead to finally solving the mysterious disappearance of the popular news anchor.

Concerns were raised by Huisentruit's colleagues at Mason City TV station, KIMT-TV when she didn't turn up for her morning assignment at 3.30am.

When police arrived at her apartment block later that morning there were signs of a struggle next to her car.

She hasn't been since, dead or alive.

Huisentruit had made a report of a possible stalker in October 1994, around 10 months before her disappearance.  After the report was made, she didn't see any further suspicious activity.

The first possible culprit would emerge not long after -- Huisentruit's close friend, John Vansice.

A reward poster for Huisentruit (Image CBS News)

Vansice had water skied regularly with Huisentruit and another friend, Ani Kruse, despite being 22-years-older than the pair.

When Huisentruit's fellow anchor Robin Wolfram learned that Vansice had named his boat after her, suspicion began to grow.

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"When he said I named my boat after her, that's when I said, 'Ugh, that's an obsession.' … I remember holding on to the microphone and just feeling so ill at ease and thinking to myself, "I think he might've done it," Wolfram told CBS last week. 

There were fears among some of Huisentruit's friends that Vansice may have wanted more than friendship from the journalist, despite being 22 years her senior.

Huisentruit with fellow anchor, Robin Wolfram (Image KIMT)

Despite these worries, Vansice has never been arrested or officially named as a suspect in the case.

Tony Jackson, the other suspect, was a convicted serial rapist who was arrested two years after Huisentruit's disappearance with a gun, rope, handcuffs and duct tape in his car.

He was sentenced to the equivalent of life in jail for four unrelated rape charges.

The background investigation indicated he was living two blocks from the TV station where Huisentruit worked.

A former inmate of Jackson's claimed that he'd rapped about murdering a TV anchor to investigative journalist Caroline Lowe, who worked for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

Tony Jackson (Image CBS)

However, no forensic evidence could be found connecting him to the crime and Mason City Police released the following statement in 1999.

"After conducting a thorough investigation which included interviews, crime laboratory analysis, records review, and polygraph examination, Tony Jackson is not considered, at this time, a viable suspect in the investigation."

Police chief Jeff Brinkley has admitted that Huisentruit's car was not held for long enough, given evidence that could have been recovered through advances in forensic technology and science.

"We don't have it [the possible hidden evidence]...but we just have to live with what we got, and-and try to do as good as we can with that."

In 2017,, a website created by journalists and retired detective Jay Albeiro broke the story that John Vansice was still on the police radar.

Mason City Police had also obtained a search warrant for GPS information on two of Vansice's vehicles.

One of the four billboards (Image CBS News)

Chief Brinkley also admitted they had a possible lead on the case but wouldn't give an exact timescale.

When the interviewer, Jim Axelrod of CBS News' 48 Hours asked 'Do you have something?' Brinkley responded "Not completely. No. I don't think we do yet. But I think that we are very close."

When Axelrod went to interview Vansice at his house,  he refused to comment.

On June 5 of this year, on what would have been Jodi's 59th birthday,  unveiled four billboards around the city, one of which reads "Somebody knows something. Is it you?"

With CBS News

Feature Image: CBS News

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