About Jodi’s Law

The purpose of this site is to provide an easy access point for information and links relating to Jodi’s Law and other stalking laws.

Current laws do not offer a clear enough definition of stalking nor do they carry a severe enough punishment. I became aware of this situation when a close family friend went missing on January 5, 2007. The story of her disappearance is listed below.Jodi Sanderholm was 19 years old, valedictorian of her high school, dance instructor, and a college student when on January 5, 2007 she disappeared in broad daylight. Within hours Arkansas City, KS police department had her murderer & rapist in custody. Unfortunately, it was too late for Jodi. Jodi’s caring, intelligent and beautiful outlook on life exemplifies everything I hope my own daughter will grow up to become.These stories happen all too often in our society, however, you never think they will happen to someone close to you. I moved in next door to Jodi when she was almost two years old. Jodi and her sister were my own 11-year-old daughter’s babysitters until recently when we moved to New Mexico.

This story happened in a town of approximately 12,000 on a Friday afternoon. Jodi left her dance practice, called her mother to cancel a planned lunch, and disappeared.Her murderer was well known to her dance team and the police department. The police have called him a “groupie” of the team and by the early hours of Saturday morning the police were looking for him. He was taken into custody on unrelated charges on Saturday, January 6th. However, Jodi was not found until Tuesday, January 9th. It was an excruciating long wait for all of Jodi’s friends and family. In the end, her murderer stands charged with aggravated kidnapping, rape, aggravated sodomy, and murder. Jodi was killed within hours of her last contact with her mother. The cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma and strangulation.

It breaks my heart to think what her last hours were like and the fear she must have felt. After enduring all of this Jodi’s body was left in the woods, while her killer sank her car into a nearby lake and went on about his normal day.

Looking back there were many aspects that led to Jodi’s murder. Her murderer had been taken into custody earlier that same week and released when he complained of chest pains. The police released him with the thought that they would pick him up and press the charges later. They had not picked him up on January 5th and it is now too late for Jodi.

Her murderer was the object of multiple restraining orders placed by other young women and just the day before is accused of following another dance team member for miles until she went to the police department for safety. However, there were no laws in Kansas (or New Mexico) that would allow the police to arrest him for stalking.

The law I am proposing will come too late for Jodi, but it will come because of Jodi. Strengthening the legal definition of stalking while increasing punishment would allow law enforcement agencies everywhere to better protect our citizens. It is my belief that this law should be changed on a national level. Due to the fact that Internet stalking can currently occur from many states away. Uniformity and definition is the key to making sure our young women are safe from stalkers.

Write your legislatures and let them know you feel like the stalking laws need to be changed to protect our young women.

5 Responses to About Jodi’s Law

  1. Debi (Banta) Hanes says:

    I was born and raised in Ark City. I went to school with both Cindy and Brian, as well as Glenda Thurber. My family, including my daughter and grandchildren still live in Ark City, so this has all hit home so hard! A friend of mine here in Nebraska has been dealing with a stalker off and on for 2 years now. He manages to find out information nobody knows about her. My question is, how do I get information about Jodi’s Law into the hands of the proper officials, and just who are they? She has gone to the police repeatedly, and she’s told that until he “makes a move” or “attacks” her, there’s nothing they can do. She has taken measures to protect herself, as well as all of her friends checking on her. However, I know full well how easily Justin Thurber was able to abduct Jodi. Any information or help you can give would be so deeply appreciated!

    • jodislaw says:

      I will email you directly to speak about Nebraska in more detail. The Stalking Resource Center is a great place to get additional information. Unfortunately too often law enforcement responding to calls don’t understand the depth of what is happening. They only see one incident. The Stalking Resource Center (www.ncvc.org) has spreadsheets to track the contact. This can help put into perspective for the law enforcement officials exactly what crime needs to be charged.
      Nebraska does have some stalking laws now; however, all the states need to strengthen their laws. You can start the ball rolling so to speak by contacting your legislators and suggesting changes. I will have an attorney friend of mine look over Nebraska’s law and the necessary changes it will need. I have press releases, letter to legislative officials, and everything else we will need in place already. Each state just needs a resident to spearhead the effort! Thanks for your willingness to help!

      Angela

  2. Tara Wortman says:

    I did not know Jodi extremely well, only met her a few times, but she had an impact on my life. I was just reading the post about working on the law in Nebraska. I am living in Nebraska now and would like to help in any way I can to help strengthen the laws. Please let me know how I can help as well…
    Tara

  3. Jodi’s law is long over due and stalking victims are without the support and assistance that they need. Survivors In Action supports the efforts of Jodi’s law.

    If you are a victim of stalking you are not alone. Please visit Survivors In Action web site today http://www.SurvivorsInAction.com and AlexisAMoore.blogspot.com to learn more about stalking prevention, safety tips, restraining orders and to find assistance and support.

  4. The statistics on stalking prior to murder (76%)are staggering. I support all efforts to improve the response to stalking. No longer is stalking just when someone drives by a victims’ house. Cyber-stalking is also a crime, but it is often ignored or down-played as a threat. As a society, we need better education and more resources for stalking victims. Stalking victims need to be able to report and have their cases investigated. All stalking needs to be taken seriously!

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