MASON CITY — In the days and months before she disappeared on June 27, 1995, Jodi Huisentruit’s top priority was her career.
Her daily life was filled with work, family and friends. She enjoyed travel, social activities and was looking for a special someone with whom to share her life.
The KIMT-TV morning news anchor had high hopes of moving to a larger-market television station.
“My No. 1 goal is to get a new job,” she wrote in a personal journal in April 1995, two months before her disappearance.
And in an entry Sunday, June 25, two days before she disappeared, she wrote, “Great friends (in Mason City), but professionally, I’m fed up. It’s difficult finding a new job and I’m confused about agents and what to do.”
Photocopies of the journal — a total of 84 pages — were sent to the Globe Gazette from an anonymous source earlier this month.
Law enforcement authorities have confirmed the copies are of the journal they found at her apartment early in the investigation.
The Mason City Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation say they are investigating who might have provided the Globe Gazette with the journal.
Huisentruit’s sister, JoAnn Nathe, told the Globe Gazette she knew her sister kept a diary or journal.
“She did a lot of self improvement things,” said Nathe. “Kept a journal, listened to tapes and took courses. Self improvement was important to her.”
Nathe said she has never seen her sister’s diary or journal and does not have a copy.
Speaking for the Huisentruit family, Nathe said the long period of time since the abduction is discouraging.
“It’s just such a cold case,” said Nathe. “Somebody knows something and we wish they’d come forward.”
It appears Huisentruit started the diary in January 1994 as part of an Anthony Robbins Success program.
In the first months she wrote diligently about her goals, efforts to improve in her profession and personal experiences.
“Remember,” she wrote in early 1994, “there is no time better than now to begin practicing being the best I can be and living the way I want to live.”
Throughout the first couple of months of 1994 Huisentruit had lengthy entries in the journal.
“I love news,” she wrote in a late January 1994 entry, “improve my career, make more money, communicate, have more impact on a larger audience. Get the Huisentruit name out. Make mom proud.
“I need to give myself five years in business,” Huisentruit wrote.
“I’m not where I want to be.”
Her goals included anchoring at a top 50 television station, getting rid of her accent, living in a warm state, having enough money to travel, and buying nice gifts and being generous.
In March 1994 the journal notes “beginning a new career hunt.”
She mentions Paula Zahn and Kathy Lee Gifford as role models.
Entries made in the second half of 1994 and in 1995 are more personal and focus more on documenting events in her life.
The May 31, 1994, entry states: “I’m recovering from Memorial Day Weekend, unbelievable — Indy 500 — a time of my life. Partied with so many wonderful people — Mario Andretti (world class racer), Joe Dumars (Detroit Pistons basketball player) and Tim Allen (TV star from ‘Home Improvement’). Had an incredible weekend.”
In October, Huisentruit and her mother, Jane, went on a cruise.
“Mom and I had a super cruise, we had the time of our life!” reads an Oct. 22, 1994, entry. “It was just a beautiful time.”
She shared a story about attending a safety briefing when her mother asked, “Will we have to wear life jackets the whole time we’re here?”
In several entries Jodi wrote about male friends and a love for dancing. On the cruise she met a man she liked.
“Why do I get hooked so fast?” she questioned. “I’m lonely here at times and would like to have someone to share my life with.
“Sure I meet men — but none that really strikes me, or who follows thru.”
On Valentine’s Day 1995, Jane Huisentruit sent her daughter a half-dozen roses for the second year in a row.
“The vase is beautiful,” Huisentruit wrote, “gold ribbon with clear jewel diamond cut gems. She is so sweet. They (the flowers) were used as the centerpiece of our interview set.”
Huisentruit also noted that her sister JoAnn called. “I’m blessed with a great family.”
In March 1995 Huisentruit wrote, “I stayed in Mason City this weekend to regroup, gather my thoughts and goals, read! And have Jodi time. I’ve enjoyed it. Church is very important to me as is putting myself and family … at the top.”
She continued, “I’m starting fresh at work this week — getting up at 3 a.m. — best newscast in the world — top 10 market — I really think I’ll market myself for AZ. — see what they think about my accent. Or I’ll move down there to produce.”
The final three entries in the journal — June 12, 13 and 25 — include the name of John Vansice, a friend who police have questioned in the case.
Sunday, June 11, 1995
“What a weekend, Surprise.
“My Mason City/Clear Lake friends thru a big party for me! At a lounge, wild.
It was in Clear Lake. They had a 16 gal keg — huge cake (with a skier) so much left.
“John Vansice grilled 150 pork burgers, we were dancing on tables … dancing everywhere … Everyone had a ball.
“Video camera was rolling, cameras were clicking — oh what fun!
“Life is so good. The party made me feel so good.”
Tuesday, June 13, 1995
“Last night John, … and I went to the Glen Miller Orchestra in Belmond. I have so many great viewers. People are so kind. This nice weather has me wild. I bought a new Mazda Miata, simply love it.”
Sunday, June 25, 1995
“Got home from a weekend road trip to Iowa City — oh we had fun! It was wild, partying and water skiing.
“We skied at the Coralville Res. I’m improving on the skis — hips up, lean, etc.
“John’s son Trent gave me some great ski tip advice.
“Today, Sunday, it was raining in Mason City so didn’t get any skiing in. I love it, it’s addicting.
“Great friends but professionally, I’m fed up. It’s difficult finding a new job and I’m confused about agent and what to do.”
Two days later, Tuesday, June 27, 1995, Huisentruit left for work early in the morning but never arrived.
She has been missing since that day.
Click here to see more journal excerpts, photos, news stories, and a slide show on our new minisite "The Huisentruit Files".