MASON CITY, Iowa (WCCO) — To mark a personal milestone she never met, a public plea for answers.

Tuesday would have been Jodi Huisentruit’s 50th birthday. The Minnesota native and Iowa TV news anchor went missing nearly 23 years ago.

A new effort is bringing the case back to the community still shaken by her disappearance, all these years later.

A busy Mason City street is not the setting she would want for such a celebration.

“She loved her birthday. She loved your birthday,” longtime friend from Long Prairie Candy Host said.

As friends and family are forced to mourn a 50th Jodi Huisentruit never got to see. Missing since she was kidnapped outside her apartment the morning of June 27, 1995.

“Nobody should have to see a friend of theirs on a billboard,“ Host said.

Four billboards are spread now across Mason City. The FindJodi team of journalists and a retired police officer have again turned the spotlight back on.

Longtime WCCO crime reporter Caroline Lowe is part of that team.

“It’s time to bring Jodi home,” Lowe said.

Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley doesn’t consider the trail cold.

“It’s still a priority for us. We’ve never stopped working it,” Chief Brinkley said.

Investigators served a search warrant in connection with the case in March.

“I think there are people with information who maybe haven’t talked to law enforcement yet,” Chief Brinkley said.

Chief Brinkley is well aware of the critics who wonder why police haven’t said more in public.

“Investigating a case is not a discussion,” Chief Brinkley said.

A tree outside the station where Jodi worked has grown taller over the years. A reminder of the strong resolve to find Jodi justice.

“There’s always hope. There’s always hope,” Host said.

A donation to FindJodi.com made these billboards possible. All four will remain up through the end of June.

Liz Collin

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