What’s the buzz? I found myself asking that question, along with millions of other television viewers on Saturday night, when we tuned in to watch CBS’s 48 Hours program on the 1995 disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit.
After several pre-show conversations with one of the show’s producers, I thought I had a good idea of what would be shown. However, I will admit to having some misgivings, as CBS touted “new” information and “never-before-seen” video footage in promoting the show. As a former TV journalist, I’ve been known to be skeptical when I hear those kinds of phrases tossed around!
The simple truth is, after more than 23 years, sometimes I feel there isn’t much really “new” evidence in the case, and I still question sometimes whether the Mason City Police Department really is any closer to solving it. I was under-whelmed by current Chief Jeff Brinkley’s assurance that this is still an active case for the M.C.P.D. Of course, no police chief is going to “spill the beans” about pending information, but his claim that they feel they are “getting closer” to solving the case felt weak and “by the book.”
Overall, however, I was impressed with the quality of the show, which did feature quite a bit of new video. FindJodi team members Caroline Lowe and Jay Alberio were interviewed, and Jay was especially effective in outlining his suspicions about the long-questioned role of convicted sex offender Tony Jackson. It was good to see and hear again from Jodi’s former colleagues (former KIMT News Director Doug Merbach and former KIMT news anchor Robin Wolfram). And I was pleased to see new interviews with some of Jodi’s longtime friends, some of whom I talked with years ago while in the process of writing Dead Air.
What really was new (to me, anyway), was footage shot just after Jodi’s disappearance in that long-ago summer of 1995, where we saw John Vansice and Ani Kruse remembering their friend Jodi while aboard the boat that John named after Jodi. And I admit to a chuckle or two over the demonstration of Vansice’s reaction to many curious investigators over the years.
Backed by a photographer, the CBS correspondent rapped on the front door of John’s home in the Phoenix area. John promptly appeared in the doorway, and without so much as another word, firmly shut the door and locked it. In doing so, he followed a pattern he has used over the years, refusing to talk to or engage with anyone about his involvement in Jodi’s case.
At FindJodi.com, we are grateful for the new push and new attention to Jodi’s story. We are convinced that “Somebody Knows Something. Is it YOU?”
We dearly hope the show and the billboards will yield yet more information crucial to solving this haunting case, once and for all.