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Globe photo by KELLI WENCL

Attornet Robert Swanson's independent investigation yielded conclusions identical to those of law enforcement agencies.

MASON CITY - Jodi Huisentruit, the KIMT anchorwoman who disappeared during June of 1995, was declared legally dead Monday in Cerro Gordo County District Court.

Judge Steven P. Carroll signed the court order, requested by Huisentruit's family, after Clear Lake attorney Robert Swanson, appointed by the court to represent Huisentruit's interests, issued his report.

Swanson was appointed to independently investigate the case on behalf of Huisentruit three weeks ago.

"There just isn't any evidence that Jodi voluntarily left her apartment, or staged the scene of her disappearance," Swanson said. "There is evidence that she was involuntarily removed from her apartment complex."

Swanson reviewed Mason City Police Department records and talked to Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents involved in the case while conducting the independent investigation for the court.

"There is no evidence that Jodi is currently alive," Swanson said. "Presumably she met an untimely early and involuntary demise."

Saying the court order establishing Huisentruit's death is in her best interest, Carroll signed the order without reopening the hearing.

Thaddeus V. Jude, Maple Lake, Minn., who represents Huisentruit's family, was not at the hearing.

Huisentruit's sister, JoAnn Nathe of Sauk Centre, Minn., said the request was a "very private family matter," which legally had to be done.

"I'm glad we settled it," she said. "We did what we had to do. Jodi would have wanted us to do this. She was one to take action and do what needed to be done."

Nathe said the family would continue its search for the truth of what happened in June 1995.

Jude said Monday's court action would allow the family to proceed in completing Huisentruit's estate matters

Huisentruit disappeared early June 27, 1995, and is believed to have been abducted from the parking lot of the Key Apartments, where she lived.

Reach Bob Link at 421-0538, or bob.link@globegazette.com.

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