A Future’s End

A story tragically as old as time. When a young person with a bright future championed by their ambition is cut down before one could argue they had even reached their prime. Mystery only adds to the tragedy of situation, nobody having answers to where something so promising went so horribly wrong.

Jodi Huisentruit was a promising news anchor in Mason City, Iowa for the local CBS affiliate KIMT. Graduating from St. Cloud State University with a major in Mass Communications and Speech Communication as a member of the class of 1990. A native of Long Prairie, Minnesota and the youngest of daughter of Maurice and Imogene Huisentruit, Jodi began her career as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, before settling in as the bureau chief for KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

She would once return to her home state of Minnesota to pursue an opportunity at KSAX before returning to Iowa to take her position at KIMT. Many believed she aspired to one day make her way to the big city and become a prime time news anchor with national recognition on a major network.

However this would all come to a sudden halt when she failed to show up for work on the morning of June 27th, 1995. Producer Amy Kuns, noted that at 4:00 AM and with no sign of Jodi, something was wrong. She called Jodi at home and informed her of the situation. Jodi noted that she simply overslept and was on her way to work.

When hours passed and there was still no sign of Jodi, Kuns would fill in for Jodi on the morning show while the network called law enforcement after the show was complete. Jodi had been late before but this time something seemed to be different to those who knew her.

Upon their arrival at her home, they found her red Mazda Miata still parked in the lot. However there was evidence that suggested a struggle had taken place just outside the car. The officers would then find Jodi’s personal items scattered about the immediate vicinity. Although they would acquire a palm print from her car that remains unidentified to this day, this was the genesis for a mystery that remains unsolved Twenty-two years later.

The neighborhood canvas unveiled little other than neighbors hearing screams around the approximate time Jodi would be leaving for work. They did discover reports of a white van shining its lights in the parking lot around the same time and the van or its driver and/or other occupants have never been confirmed or identified.

Perhaps the dark side of fame had finally caught up to the ambitious young professional. Was she being followed by an obsessive viewer?. A bent key was found on the ground near her car to suggest she was grabbed from behind as she was unlocking her vehicle. More of her belongings would be found spread across the parking lot, as Police would later reveal.

Where is Jodi? A question that burned in the minds of all Jodi’s friends and colleagues at the news station but remained unanswered. Nobody was beyond question. A colleague, a viewer with an obsession, every angle of investigation was being considered. The disappearance even had her coworkers on edge in that they could be next.

Mason City Police considered every possible avenue. They would even welcome the support of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But in reality anyone who owned a television set could be considered suspect. Suspects even included convicted rapists who would vehemently deny any involvement in the case.

Time passed and every thing would return to what one might perceive to be normal. A tree remains out front of the KIMT offices dedicated to the life of a young woman who dreamed of reaching the stars but had it tragically taken away from her.

Leads would continue to come in and of course they were followed up with investigators doing their due diligence. While their confidence in finding a resolution to this case would never waiver even until this day, that resolution is yet to arrive.

At the famous age of 27, a young, bright and ambitious professional had her dreams snatched away form her by someone. Their motives remain as murky as the outcome of this case. Even State Representative, John Kooiker voiced his opinion on the case in recent years and suggested that the resolution has been found but suppressed by other city officials.

Regardless of a cover up or not, a beautiful young woman had her life tragically cut short. A suspect still remains at loose today and does not deserve to die with an honorable name. He or she must be held accountable for their actions and it is only my hope that I see this happen…

 

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The Parkway Predator – My Thoughts

I have never been able to decide which side of the fence my beliefs firmly rest in this case although if I was forced to pick a side, I would have to believe there was a serial killer on the loose. Granted this case does not fit the typical pattern where the MO of the offender is identical in every case however, the cooling off period and the geographic location in each instance makes the possibility of a serial offender too difficult to ignore.

Five young couples cut down before they could even experience the prime of their lives by an individual who seemed to kill for his own twisted purposes and to see how he could increase the excitement he felt with each attack. What ever was going on in such an obviously psychotic mind seemed to enjoy the experimentation of each instance. Unfortunately we may never gain an insight into this deranged mind, serial killer or not.

The Dowski-Thomas may fit all the hallmarks of a Hate Crime, Just like the Call-Hailey case may seem like the work of a stalker or a jealous partner. Perhaps all of these cases were tragically a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the one thing that discredits this possibility to me is how could couples have been controlled by a single individual. Like the commonly considered factor that it would have been simple for an authority figure or someone impersonating one.

A Police Officer, Park Ranger or a failed attempt at one. Someone who tried to gain acceptance within their ranks but at some stage either became intoxicated with the status of said position or someone who tried to be one but failed and set out on a path of revenge. An individual who decided that he would show law enforcement what he was capable of doing when they told him he was not cut from the cloth they sought.

The way the driver’s side window at least partially rolled down as if they were preparing to greet such a public figure in a routine procedure of checking their identification and simply scoping out the behaviour of those individuals present in any given area. This commonality in each case proved to be the genesis for my belief that this series was the work a serial killer. However given the somewhat failed attempt to cover their tracks in the Dowski-Thomas case, a new consideration came into my mind.

Although now I reside in the United States, I spent most of my life in Australia. In Australia, the name Ivan Milat is synonymous with cold blooded murder. A man who abducted tourists and brutally murdered them in the Belanglo State Forest of New South Wales. The similarities to me are somewhat striking. A calculating individual who lured unsuspecting, good willed people to their deaths by preying on their forgiving nature.

He would lure them into a false sense of security for brutally murdering them, much like the suspect I believe in this case would have done. Yet to this day some of those involved with this case believe that Ivan Milat did not act alone in the cases that he his attributed to. The Milat family had a long history of clashes with law enforcement and made ideal candidates to be considered co-conspirators in a case of serial murder. Perhaps Ivan involved his brothers, Perhaps he did not. Still the crimes seemed like it would be farfetched for a single individual to have carried out.

Controlling another individual while you are caught up in the murder of another. I find it hard to believe that I would not try to escape and get help while a deranged killer took the life of my friend. Yes, I have never been in that situation so I cannot testify to how I would react but it simply seems like an instinctual behaviour to try and preserve ones self.

This is what I cannot help wonder about The Colonial Parkway Predator, did he act alone? For someone Law Enforcement agencies cannot agree upon as a single perpetrator, it can surely not be too much of a stretch to consider that a third party took part in these heinous acts. After all, the suspect would have needed to control two people who are terrified and doing whatever they must to survive.

In the Call-Hailey case, it would most likely suggest that the perpetrator did not immediately make his evil intentions clear as the next morning came and Keith’s father did not notice anything suspicious about the vehicle. If the suspect had of immediately proceeded to engage in murderous intentions then there would have been some form of indication present at this time. This is where I feel the suspect failed in covering his tracks in a manner of speaking. The evidence present in vehicle or lack there of gives us the same MO as the other cases in that the offender or offenders managed to remove the suspects from the vehicle before any sense of alarm was raised.

Like Milat, One can only believe that the suspect gained some initial form of trust with their victims and it was not until they were completely vulnerable would he strike. Like any predator, they would wait until the victims were completely unsuspecting of any misgivings before their intentions became apparent. Perhaps he engaged them in dialogue of some kind along the lines of “how was your night?” and “Where are you headed?”. Then when he had them drop their guard, it was time to engage in his horrific plans.

By the time the victims realised what was happening it would have been too late, the suspect would have been in complete control of the scene. After then all we can do is speculate up until the victims were found after the fact. But that raises even greater questions, who was the The Colonial Parkway Killer and more importantly, where is he now?. Like I have already mentioned, I would not even consider it a stretch of the present facts to consider it a question of – who were they and where are they now?…