Investigation Discovery shoot

My first job in Television News was at KAAL-TV in Austin, Minnesota. The man who hired me was Gary Peterson – a man who knows news and has covered it for the better part of 40 years. We both had a very deep passion for missing person cases and it quickly became evident. We spent 2002-2005 working on several local Southern Minnesota and North Iowa cases, specifically, the Jodi Huisentruit abduction. Jodi was a morning news anchor for KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa. She was abducted from the parking lot of her apartment complex on June 27, 1995.

Nearly 10 years, a 13-part series, a website and hundreds of hours of travel and interviews later…we’re still coming up short. It’s damn frustrating, but we continue.

I was happy to get a call from Investigative Discovery a few weeks ago. They were interested in spotlighting Jodi’s case in the 5th season of their hit series ‘Disappeared’. I flew back to Minnesota and met with Gary and the ID team in Spring Valley, about 2 hours south of the Twin Cities. It was a full day shoot. The producers and photographer were very professional and methodical. That’s why the show is done so well.

This is just what Jodi’s case needs, coverage both locally and nationally that helps keep it from going cold. As time goes on, missing person cases get harder to solve. Jodi’s case will mark it’s 17th anniversary tomorrow at 4:30AM. It’s a sad milestone, but one that reinvigorates Gary and me to do more in the future to help get the case solved.

Gary Peterson of
Gary re-living the days he spent on the phone tirelessly talking with informants, investigators and crackpots as John rolls video on his tiny camera.

This episode of Disappeared will feature Jodi’s disappearance and will be told by not only Gary and myself, but Jodi’s sister Joanne Nathe, Mason City Police Investigators, and others. Producers will add in professional recreations in showing what may have happened in Jodi’s final hours. Recreations are tough to do well. And I’ve seen them done many times in TV News. The outcome is usually pretty cheesy. The ID team has the formula down: high quality video and very tight shots with quick movement and great sound. I was surprised to see John (our photographer) use a Canon still camera with video capabilities to capture a lot of the recreations during our shoot. He made it look effortless. We can’t wait to see the final product.

We’re happy ID has decided to include Jodi’s case in their 5th season. It not only helps keep Jodi’s case in the public, but it may help trigger that one tip that leads authorities to a conclusion in this horrible case. The family deserves that. And justice needs to prevail.

ID producers tell me the episode is expected to air in October 2012 or shortly after. If you’d like to read more about Jodi’s case, please visit our website We thank you for your support. To watch our recent video regarding the case, click here.


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About the author

Josh Benson


Josh Benson


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