When I applied to work at KIMT-TV, I knew the history of the station.
Maybe not everything, but I knew the most recent, and likely largest, part of their history.
“That was the station Jodi worked at, right?” was the question I would get every time I mentioned to someone outside of North Iowa the letters KIMT.
Yes, that was Jodi’s station. I didn’t know her, but know and worked with plenty of people who did.
Jodi Huisentruit didn’t show up for work 15 years ago today. She was the morning anchor for Channel 3. She and Amy Kuns worked together on that broadcast each day. That day, Amy called Jodi, wondering where she was. She reached Jodi, but never talked to her again. (The Globe Gazette of Mason City published this story Sunday.)
Jodi went missing and hasn’t been heard from, or seen since.
No one really knows what happened that morning at the Key Apartments just east of East Park in Mason City.
But they know the apartment scene, the front of the TV station on North Pennsylvania and what the newsroom looked like.
The video scenes were played out for the time immediately following her disappearance as stations would come in, grab some video and interviews and go front their stories.
People remembered for a while, yellow ribbons were worn by the anchor staff for years. Even when I started in 1998, just 3 years after she disappeared, faded yellow ribbons were still on the desks of her newsroom co-workers, Pete Hjelmstad, JD Miller, Doug Merbach and Amy Kuns.
For awhile, there were interviews on national TV shows with those former co-workers and each time I’d learn something new. But there was never ever enough “new” information to help crack the case.
What happened to Jodi was a stark reminder of the reality of the TV business. Especially those working the early shift, who would be to work at 2 or 3 AM which meant leaving a quiet house, on a dark street or dark apartment complex to come to work, not knowing who exactly was around the corner.
There was a lot of looking over each other’s shoulder around the anniversary time of Jodi’s disappearance. There were many of us guys who would walk the girls to their cars, even at other TV stations, just to make sure everything was alright.
I was there for the 3rd and 4th anniversaries and left just before the 5th. I still think about her and hope you all do too.