[NOTE:This post has been updated. It was originally posted on May 8, 2006. We are working on a new FindJodi podcast episode with new information. ]
There’s new information in the 1995 disappearance of popular Mason City, Iowa, anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit. KAAL-TV reports that prior to Jodi’s abduction, a good friend of hers was shot at his rural farm home just south of Mason City.
His name was Billy Pruin.
Pruin was a guy that everybody liked, as far as we can tell. He had proposed to his girl friend, Gretchen Tusler on Sunday, April 2nd, 1995. On Tuesday, April 4th, Pruin took his pickup to Mason City to pick up a new tractor he had just purchased. He left the pickup at Brakke Implement and drove his new tractor home. Calls to Pruin that night went unanswered.
On Wednesday, April 5th, a friend went to the farmhouse to check on Pruin. The door was open about 4 inches and his keys were in the outside lock of the door. He called out to his friend and received no answer so he left.
The next morning, Pruin’s mother went to the house to check on her son. She found him dead in the dining room. Investigating officers responding to the scene reported that it was apparent there had been a gunshot wound to the chest. The expended slug from Pruin’s .44 magnum had hit the ceiling and fell to the tile floor in the kitchen.
Initially, his death was ruled a suicide but was later changed to undetermined.
Friends of Billy Pruin could not believe he would commit suicide and were shocked by his death. One of the people
who was troubled by his death was Jodi Huisentruit. According to friends and relatives of Jodi, she was possibly investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
Jodi was abducted almost three months after Billy Pruin died. There have been suspicions Jodi found something out.
One of the people who knew Jodi and Pruin is Lanee Good. Lanee sat down with KAAL’s Gary Peterson and outlined her doubts about the Pruin death. She believes Pruin was in a hurry to get into his house. He left his keys in the outside lock of the door, crossed the kitchen and entered the dining room, getting his revolver. Somehow the revolver discharged. Good believes there was a struggle and Pruin was shot.
Good, when interviewed by sheriff’s investigators, said that “she was quite concerned about Pruin’s death and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.” She stated that one of the things that bothered her about the circumstances surrounding Pruin’s death was that, later in 1995, a very close friend of Bill’s by the name of Jodi Huisentruit also turned up missing.” Ms. Good stated that this might just be coincidental and possibly can be explained; however, Ms.Good is concerned that possibly the two may be related.
When Peterson asked Deputy Lichman of the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department about the information in the report that he investigated, and if that comment was ever given to Mason City Police, he said, “not that he was aware of.” Likewise, Mason City Police Lt. Ron Vande Weerd said he had no knowledge of Pruin’s death until he read the report the first week in May in 2006 when KAAL-TV asked for further information.
According to the Sheriff’s report, there were no identifiable prints on the revolver that Pruin reportedly had in his hand. His hands were placed in paper bags, but there is no record of any gunshot residue on them or any of the clothing he had on.
Pruin’s fiancee said he was “afraid of something” several weeks before his death.
Jodi Huisentruit had voiced similar concerns prior to her abduction. In fact, she had written to her good friend Kelly Torgeson in Mississippi and told her that “she was concerned for her safety, that she was being stalked.” Torguson turned the letter over to Mason City Police right after Jodi’s disappearance. Ironically, Torguson received the letter on June 27th, 1995, the day Jodi was abducted.
The Cerro Gordo County Medical Examiner referred our calls to the State Medical Examiner in Des Moines. Upon inquiring into the case, the State ME said they were still waiting on the autopsy report from Cerro Gordo County. This report is normally sent to the state soon after the case is investigated and the autopsy completed. It was 11 years in April when Billy Pruin died.
The State Medical Examiner did say they agreed with the report after they had a chance to review it.
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