FindJodi.com recently obtained a copy of a 1994 police report documenting a call from Jodi Huisentruit to the Mason City Police Department regarding a man in a white truck who had been following her.
The incident happened less than 9 months before Jodi was abducted from the parking lot of the Key Apartments.
In June 1995, Jodi was attacked as she was getting into her car to go to KIMT-TV to anchor the morning newscast.
We received the 2-line report in response to an Iowa Open Records request.
According to the report, Jodi called the MCPD about the possible stalking incident early Saturday evening, October 8, 1994.
It stated: “Huisentruit requested to talk to an officer in reference [to] a subject who was following her, driving a small white newer pickup.”
Jodi’s apartment address at 550 N. Kentucky was listed as the location of the incident involving a “suspicious subject.”
The report also revealed that the MCPD’s Ron Vande Weerd responded to the call from Jodi and that he was done in about 15 minutes.
Lieutenant Vande Weerd was assigned to supervise the investigation of Jodi’s abduction the following year.
In an email in response to our request to see any additional reports, Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said, “There isn’t much in the file. The call sheet appears to be all there is.”
With an absence of much of any official record on the incident, most of what is known about the event is based on previous police statements to the media and interviews with people who knew Jodi.
Was the truck black or white?
Over the years, police have given conflicting statements about whether the truck was black or white.
During a 2004 interview with FindJodi.com’s Josh Benson and Gary Peterson, Lt. Vande Weerd shared what Jodi told him about the 1994 truck incident:
“She asked about different things she could do to guard her safety, such as carrying mace, and I gave her some advice on things that she could do. She was out walking with a friend and she said somebody had drove by and stared at her awful hard and it made her nervous.”
He added, “she couldn’t really make out the person, just the vehicle. As I recall, it was a white pickup.”
Vande Weerd’s description of the truck’s color is consistent with the color of the pickup listed in the initial report the MCPD made of Jodi’s call.
But it also contradicts numerous media reports over the years that the truck was black, including initial reports from 1995.
More recently, in 2013, the Investigation Discovery series ‘Disappeared’ interviewed the current investigator on Jodi’s case, Terrance Prochaska, who also referred to a black truck.
“Our reports say she was followed by a black truck. That truck was never found, nobody saw that truck again, other than Jodi, and that was as far as that initial investigation had gone,” Prochaska said in an interview for the true-crime show.
Whether the 1994 truck incident had anything to do with Jodi’s disappearance is unknown.
But it is clear Jodi was concerned enough to reach out to Mason City Police Department, to tell her family and several friends about it, and to get self-defense training in the months before she was abducted.
In the same ID network show, Jodi’s sister JoAnn Nathe said, ” Jodi was worried a few times about stalking,” and mentioned the truck incident.
Jodi also shared her safety concerns with a good friend from her hometown of Long Prairie, Minnesota, and with a college friend, mentioning she was taking self-defense classes.
Sonny and Julie Onoo provided self-defense training to Jodi just a couple of months before she was abducted.
In a recent interview with FindJodi.com, the Onoos recall an occasion when Jodi arrived late for a self-defense workshop in March 1995.
Julie, who hosted the class with her husband, said Jodi was anxious to get the training and was upset when she arrived late and missed their workshop.
She said Jodi confided she felt someone had been following her, but didn’t share any details.
Sonny remembers Jodi was concerned about going to work in the dark and he was able to give Jodi some basic safety tips that day.
The couple also recalled being guests on Jodi’s morning news show, providing general safety advice.
They said they were shocked to learn Jodi was abducted such a short time after she had told them about her own safety concerns and received their training.
Click here to read more on the original welfare police report.