Updated: June 05, 2018 07:45 PM
Created: June 05, 2018 12:00 AM
A renewed search is underway for Minnesota native and Iowa news anchor Jodi Huisentruit, who would have celebrated her 50th birthday Tuesday.
The Long Prairie woman disappeared before her morning TV anchor shift nearly 23 years ago and was not seen after that. Authorities believe someone abducted the then-27-year-old outside her apartment.
Iowans are planning to hand out flyers Tuesday in a new effort to uncover information about Huisentruit's disappearance.
Billboard signs throughout Mason City now contain the message, "Somebody knows something. Is it you?" with an image of Huisentruit. The billboards were installed around Mason City under the direction of FindJodi.com, a website devoted to solving the case.
An event Tuesday was dedicated to bringing renewed attention to Huisentruit's case, to dedicate the billboards and to hear from Huisentruit's family.
Beth Bednar, a member of the Iowa media at the time of Huisentruit's disappearance, also wrote a book about the anchor.
"It's a case that's plagued the Midwest," Bednar said. "This is one of those area cases like Jacob Wetterling that plays at the edge of public consciousness."
Huisentruit had a promising career in TV news. She was a reporter for KSAX in Alexandria in the early 1990s. From there, she went on to work for KIMT in Mason City, Iowa.
Josh Benson never met Jodi, but in the early 2000s he took a job in the Mason City TV market.
He started to learn everything he could about her disappearance.
"She always seemed to be pretty happy, that's what I like about her the most,” said Benson. "Here's a woman who was on her way to work in Mason City, Iowa, at 4 in the morning, walking to her car and was abducted."
Benson later co-founded FindJodi.com.
"We knew it was going to be a big undertaking,” said Benson.
The group's work has not been easy.
"I think the most shocking part is that there is very little to work with," said Benson.
Investigators have a few persons of interest, but never named an official suspect.
"There is a little bit to work with, not a whole lot, but what's there hasn't been enough to solve the crime,” said Benson.
Now, there is a renewed effort in finding her whereabouts.
"Just trying to wiggle out that little bit of information that is going to crack this case wide open," said Benson.
Benson hopes to someday bring Huisentruit’s family peace.
"I know her family deserves justice and we just want to see Jodi come home," said Benson.
The Mason City police chief said he did not have anything new to share about Huisentruit’s case. He asked anyone with information about her disappearance to give them a call.
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