On this cold, rainy, dreary day I bring heartening news to the fans and supporters of Don Harman.…
While I’ve yet to hear back from police Lt. Frank Sterns in Mason City, Iowa, I was able to connect with sources there familiar with the case of long-missing, early-morning news anchor Jodi Husentruit.
Let’s review. Area law enforcement heard that Harman was interviewed recently about Husentruit’s disappearance from Mason City television station KMIT in 1995. Husentruit anchored the wee hours morning news program there at the time Harman was the station’s weather guy.
After Husentruit, 27, failed to show up for work one morning, police went to her residence where they discovered signs of a struggle, neighbors reported hearing screams and her red Mazda Miata was still in its parking space. She was never heard from again and declared dead in 2001.
The mystery of what may have happened has haunted – and continues to haunt – the town ever since.
Brief aside: Mason City is known for successful music entertainers, including playwright Meredith Willson, best known for "The Music Man," a hit Broadway musical and later a movie, based on characters from Willson’s childhood there.
The population today is around 28,000, but for people of a certain age, it’s still River City.
As I first reported and have reminded readers, Harman suffered from severe depression and that was the leading theory as to why he took his own life. If indeed Husentruit’s cold case – which has remained open all these years – was undergoing a stepped up effort to reinvestigate – if indeed police had contacted Harman – it could have been nothing more than the retracing the investigation to find out what people who knew and worked with her knew or remembered.
A cold case is a crime that has not been solved for usually at least one year and remains open.
Then three years ago, in 2008, copies of Husentruit’s personal journal were mailed anonymously to Mason City’s Globe Gazette newspaper. Mason City police had been in possession of the original and it was soon learned that the copy had been sent to the paper by the wife of the former Mason City police chief.
The $64 million question: Was there anything in that diary that linked Harman to Husentruit?
The answer is no.
"It was her diary," says a Mason City source close to the investigation. "You know, there are so many rumors."
But Harman’s connection has never been among them, says the source.
"There’s always been another older man implicated," says the source, But thus far, they’ve never been able to connect enough of the dots to charge the man, the source adds.
As for Harman’s time and rep in Mason City, "He was really popular here," the source says. "He had a show where he went around and ate dinner at people’s houses."
Again, I’m still awaiting police confirmation of whether Harman was interviewed here and what, if anything, was learned from that interview.
As for Harman’s depression issues, it’s not unlikely that he was bipolar, says one area counselor.
"(That’s) not at all unusual unfortunately," the counselor says. "When you find someone to be so energetic , funny and seemingly unflappable there is often a dark side."