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KWWL EXCLUSIVE: New witnesses found in Huisentruit disappearance

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(KWWL) -- Twenty-five years ago, Mason City anchor Jodi Huisentruit disappeared prior to her shift at KIMT on June 27th, 1995.

An independent, investigative journalist by the name of Steve Ridge has been digging into her story for nearly two years.

"I have spoken with new and potentially valuable witnesses," Ridge said Friday in an exclusive interview to KWWL.

Ridge says he's passed along information previously unknown, from those new witnesses, to the proper authorities who he says are actively investigating this case.

"This is information that would be after the fact in terms of activities. That's not to say there aren't witnesses with information who were there before, during, and after." Ridge said.

He won't disclose any more details at this time, saying he won't do anything to compromise the investigation by police.

"I really want to be careful about what I disclose, because I have waded into the middle of some very delicate situations and secured a lot of information that I think is really unnecessary to make public. There isn't really any advantage in terms of sharing the information. It's much better I think in the hands of authorities where it can be utilized in a way to try to seek justice," Ridge said.

Huisentruit was last heard from by a coworker at KIMT when she was late for the morning show. When Jodi still didn't show up for work a few hours later, police arrived at her apartment complex to find signs of a struggle.

Through tracking down a variety of leads through past testimony and more, Ridge found these new witnesses. One of the major issues with a case like this is time.

"A number of people who have provided testimony in the past have either died, or aged significantly," Ridge said.

One of those people is John Vansice, who was once the person of interest in this case. Vansice currently struggles with Alzheimer's, enlisting the use of a service dog.

"Absent prompting, John's memory of people, places, and events have greatly diminished," Ridge said.

Regardless, the new information gives Ridge a reason to hope.

"I still believe that solving the case, which is different than in any way arriving at justice, is forthcoming," Ridge said.

The case still finds active support from an online community at which recently launched a podcast to tell Jodi's story.

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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