We have some bittersweet news to share with the FindJodi.com audience. Gary Peterson has decided to retire and thereby resign from his post at FindJodi.com. Gary is a strong reason why we are here today and why this website exists. His countless hours to the organization has helped build FindJodi.com from a few guys talking about the case in 2002 to the number one source of information regarding Jodi’s case today.
Gary gave me my first job in Television News in Austin, Minnesota back in 2002. We hit it off right away in that we both had a passion for missing person cases. We’d spend countless hours talking about missing students in Minnesota. Our chats eventually pushed us onto the Jodi Huisentruit case.
It was a case we were both relatively familiar with. But we were both frustrated it had been 7 long years since it happened. Here we are almost 25 years later and the case is not solved. And that still doesn’t sit well with us. But it hasn’t been for lack of trying.
Immediately, we started to immerse ourselves in the case. Binders of information were collected. Boxes of tapes were accumulated. We took a road trip down through Southern Minnesota and various parts of Iowa digging for clues, interviewing those who knew Jodi and piecing the investigation together. This was true journalism as it should be. And this was a long time ago. We had a blast and learned a lot.
From looking in silos and trudging through farm fields (yes, with dress shoes on) to working with a ground penetrating radar team in one location and a backhoe in another, or to the time we accompanied an officer under Jodi’s apartment to dig up mounds of earth, it seems we’ve been everywhere. Gary was a solid partner and I learned a lot from him. They are life lessons I will take with me forever.
In 2003 we created FindJodi.com. It’s gone through several iterations. But now it receives thousands of hits a month and we get leads to our tip-line and contact form almost daily. It has served as an effective tool and is doing what we intended to do: distribute fair, factual information on Jodi’s case while also serving as a repository for those who wanted to share a lead.
Over the years, I moved around a lot thanks to my job in TV News. But Gary and I managed to stay connected and even visited each other form time to time. My wife Tara and I enjoyed trips to their home to visit with Gary and his wonderful wife Gladys. To this day, I’m convinced she makes the best short ribs. Gary and I took trips to Arizona, Washington, Iowa, Florida and other spots to talk about and investigate the case.
Gary was pivotal in creating Fade to Black – the Jodi Huisentruit case adapted for the stage. If you haven’t watched it, please do. It’s a great background on Jodi’s case brought to life by community actors in Minnesota. Gary wrote the play and should be proud of a job well done.
We’ve worked with countless media organizations. We’ve conducted dozens of media interviews and been interviewed for several network and cable productions.
We went through extremely tense times in the case when we believed it was about to be solved, to long, drawn out periods of time where there were not updates but the crickets chirping. And while Gary has decided to retire, his work and dedication to Jodi’s case will reverberate through this site as we continue on.
Gary had this to say about retiring from the case:
“The disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit from a parking lot in Mason City and why Jodi was a target… I am not going to spend a lot of my time chasing tips. That is somebody else’s job now. For me, I have met and worked with hundreds of good people dedicated to the same cause. I am sorry JoAnn that I didn’t do more. There was always another lead, a new person to work with in the Police Departments. They are a skilled group of Investigators and have been instrumental in dealing with witnesses and people who believe they are the experts. I would like to give credit to Jim Feldhaus in South Dakota. Jim was in the ring well before FindJodi.com was developed. He was tenacious. May his soul rest in peace. Good luck to Jodi and her memory. All the people that have worked on and in the future deserve a round of applause for their efforts. Thanks!”
Thank you Gary for your dedication, support and hustle on this case over the last 18 years. It was a wonderful experience working alongside you and learning from you. From all of us at FindJodi.com, Inc. we wish you and Gladys a wonderful retirement.
Thanks for everything, Gary.
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