Remembering the Day Jodi’s Body was Found…

January 10, 2009

The morning started the same way.  Nothing new.  Texas Equine would search the lake at first chance that morning.   The news began reporting that Jodi’s car had been found and would be recovered with a body.  I called my dad and asked if it was true.  His response, “They found her but she is not in the car.”  


I still had hope and asked if she was OK.  He broke down and gave me the news that I and all of Jodi’s friends and family had hoped would not come.  Jodi was gone.  At work, I sat in a daze.  School was about to be dismissed.  I had to get my daughter before she looked at the Internet.  I raced home and gave her the news that her babysitter and friend was gone. 


It was a few days later that she asked me the question no parent should ever have to answer.  She asked, “Mom, you said I should always fight and yell if someone ever tired to do anything.”  Of course I said yes you should get attention of someone that will help you and run.  She went on to say, “but Jodi fought didn’t she?”  Yes, I am sure Jodi fought and in her memory I will fight for change in the laws to protect others.


Remembering the 4th Day Jodi was Missing…

January 8, 2009

I waited for news, but nothing new came.  The Internet begins unofficially to reveal a suspect’s name, but did that really matter when Jodi could still be out there?  I still wanted to believe that everything was a misunderstanding or at worst that Jodi was hurt and waiting for help to arrive.  After all this is a small town.  It is a town that I grew up in.  Everyone knew everyone and no one would want to hurt Jodi. 


The news began reporting and my father confirmed that law enforcement was closing in on an investigation at the Cowley County Fishing Lake.  Some of Jodi’s clothes and the mail from the day she went missing had been found in the restroom there.  I finally acknowledged that Jodi had been a victim, but I still did not believe she could be dead.  My father continued to try to prepare me for the news to come.


Rumors continued as law enforcement waited for Texas Equine Search to arrive in the small town.  Texas Equine Search has worked many high profile cases and was on the way to assist in the search.  Jodi began to appear in national news.  Today Show.  I turned everything off and waited. 

Remembering the 3rd Day Jodi was Missing…

January 7, 2009

The third day Jodi was missing we had planned to have another couple over for dinner.  I went ahead with the plans thinking it would be a welcomed distraction.  However, I am confident that I was not a good hostess that evening. 


All day I called my father for updates feeling helpless that I was so far away.  All day I received the same update.  Nothing had changed. 


Throughout the day I remembered Jodi.  I thought about when we moved into the house next door to Jodi and her family.  She was about 1 years old and one of the cutest babies I think I have ever seen (her niece is a mirror image).  Cindy (Jodi’s mom) had come outside to introduce herself as we moved in.  Cindy was an at-home day care provider at the time.  As Cindy stood talking with us Jodi crawled out as well to be quickly grabbed by her older brother, Jason.


It was becoming apparent that memories could be all we would have left of Jodi, but as simple as they are they were all were great and accented with a smile that showed care for everyone.  


Later that day law enforcement began asking people to look in their out buildings “for anything.”  Kansas had a few extremely cold nights and I hoped that she had found shelter in a building and was waiting for someone to find her.  That was not the case.


Jodi was probably about ten or eleven when her dad, Brian and my own father decided to joke with her older sister, Jennifer’s high school boyfriend who was coming for a date.  Jodi laughed about the joke, but quickly added, “I hope they don’t do that to my dates!”  She dated the same boy all thru high school though.  She was still dating him when she went missing and he planned to propose later that year.


No additional news on Jodi came throughout the day.  My mind raced with locations that she could be waiting for help.  As if I could solve this from more than 600 miles away better than the law enforcement. 


Some good news did come from the Sanderholm family that day. Jennifer (Jodi’s older sister) delivered a healthy baby girl, Emma.  What should have been a time the Sanderholm family and Jodi celebrated was overcast with the uncertainty and worry for Jodi.


Every day we read, listen or watch stories similar to Jodi’s.  It may not be stalking every time.  It may not end as horribly.  But the victim was always someone’s daughter/son, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, niece/nephew, friend or babysitter.  The details you hear on the news merely scratch the surface.  Help protect these people!  Everyone has a choice.  Do nothing while continuing to shake your head and say too bad every night or call your legislator and ask for change in the current anti-stalking laws!


“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke 

Remembering the 2nd Day Jodi was Missing…

January 7, 2009

It’s been two years since Jodi Sanderholm was murdered.  Over the next few days I will recount my experiences from those days she was missing.  It was the day after she went missing that I received the news.  I lived in New Mexico and received a call from my father.  He informed me that Jodi was missing since the day before.  I immediately thought it was a misunderstanding.  After all the first stage is denial. 

My father’s simple reply was, “I don’t think so.” 

I looked into my rearview mirror and saw my ten year-old daughter sitting in the backseat.  She had known Jodi her entire life.  Jodi and her sister had babysat for her until we moved to New Mexico.  They were the older girls that she looked up to.  How would I tell her?

 I asked my father to clarify.  He responded, “They have someone they are talking to.” 

 I still thought it must be a misunderstanding, but got off the phone and told my daughter that Jodi was missing.  With concern in her eyes she nodded her understanding.  During the twenty minute drive home I shook my head in disbelief that something like this could happen in the small town of approximately 12,000 people that I grew up in.  This was a typical small town where people may or may not lock their doors.  Jodi had never met someone who wasn’t a friend.  Who could possibly want to harm her? 

 My daughter and I went home where I pulled up the story on the Internet.  Already stories were flooding the Internet.  Jodi’s beautiful and exuberant smile was on every news website in the region with comments pages full of prayers for her safe return that would not come.


I called my father several times the rest of the night hoping to receive the news that Jodi was safe.  Every call was met with the same news…nothing had changed.  Every call he tried to make me understand that conclusion to Jodi’s disappearance would more than likely not be happy.  I didn’t have a suspect’s name at this point.  I didn’t have and still don’t have a reason.  I sat in disbelief.

 Daily posts through the time of Jodi’s disappearance in the hope of bringing to light the pain that victims and their friends and families feel.  Laws need to be strengthened across the nation.  Please call your legislators today!  To the best of my knowledge Jodi did not know she was a victim of stalking.  However, court documents show that her accused murderer had been at the very least window peeping since she was 9 years old.  She was 19 when she was murdered.

2nd Competency Hearing Scheduled for Justin Thurber

November 9, 2008

Justin Thurber has reportedly been returned to Cowley County for a December 16, 2008 hearing to discuss the result of his competency hearing at Larned State Hospital.  Thurber was taken to the mental hospital for an evaluation after a mental health professional hired by the defense found him to be incompetent to stand trial.

Additional information on Thurber’s transfer can be found at the following links:

January 5, 2009 will mark the second anniversary of Jodi’s death and Thurber has yet to answer to the charges against him.  

Jodi’s friends and family are left to hope and pray that December 16th will bring a competent to stand trial decision and a trial date set for the very near future.