If you know something, say something.
Those two statements, while from different stories, hit home with North Iowans and many across the nation, actually, still sad and mystified by the apparent abduction of KIMT anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit.
The case, never far from top of mind for many of us in the news business around North Iowa, came to light again when new Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley came aboard earlier this year.
Monday marked the 21st anniversary of the day the 27-year-old anchorwoman failed to show up for her 6 a.m. newscast. Station management contacted police, and they went to the Key Apartments where she lived.
The worst had apparently happened: Officers found a her car and shoes, a blow dryer, hairspray and earrings scattered about as if there had been a struggle. Evidence pointed to an abduction, including neighbors hearing a scream (why no one called police then adds to the mystery of it all).
Since then authorities have received thousands of tips and have followed up on who knows how many of them. They’ve searched remote areas, dragged waterways, traveled countless miles, spent countless hours, all without finding the answer so many people are aching to learn.
Huisentruit was declared dead in 2001. But there are a lot of “what ifs” in this case, and they continue to gnaw at the public and at investigators who want in the worst way for this case to be solved.
Enter a fresh face in the investigation – Brinkley. He was an officer in Ames before coming to Mason City so he is well aware of the Huisentruit case. He vows to keep it alive.
"A lot of people think it's a cold case, but it's not. It is still an active investigation. We follow up on every tip we get and we always will,” he said.
Brinkley likes that the case receives national media attention from time to time. “Anything that keeps it in the public eye is good,” he said.
Personally, he vows to read every word of the hefty case file in hopes of finding that one thing that might lead to a resolution.
Which brings us to his conclusion that someone knows what happened in those early morning hours.
"Someone out there knows what happened,” Brinkley said. “You can't do something like this without telling someone. Someone knows.”
He hopes that someone will speak up and contact officials.
If you know something, say something: That’s the advice from Gov. Terry Branstad. He was responding to potential terror situations after the Orlando massacre, but his advice is good any time there is suspicious activity.
“As individuals,” he said, “we can make a difference.”
We wonder: Is there an individual who saw something that day who, for whatever reason, hasn’t come forward? It’s not too late.
We agree with Brinkley: Someone knows. And for the sake of family, co-workers, investigators and the public – many of whom had grown to accept that beautiful, outgoing, Minnesota-born anchorwoman as one of their own – we hope, we urge them to say something.
Until then, we’re glad Chief Brinkley is making the case a personal priority. We wish him the best in solving one of North Iowa’s agonizing criminal mysteries.