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The True Crime Story of Jodi Sanderholm

Jodi's Law was written to help people who are being stalked get help from the police. It remains one of the fastest laws to ever go through the state of Kansas.

By Dr. Shakira AKA The True Crime EmpressPublished 12 months ago 4 min read
Jodi Sanderholm

Jodi's Law was written to help people who are being stalked get help from the police. It remains one of the fastest laws to ever go through the state of Kansas.

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Jodi Sanderholm

Jodi Sanderholm was a 19-year-old from Kansas. Her mom described her as a "brown-eyed, brown-haired beauty". She was close to her mom and told her everything. Jodi was the youngest of her siblings, upbeat, positive, sweet, and helpful. She was a true dancer, if she could have danced 24 hours a day she would have. In her last two years of high school, she was the captain of the dance line. It was no surprise when she went to college and joined the dance team with her best friend. On the Cowley College dance line, she choreographed all of the dance moves. Although she loved to dance, her academics were just as important. She was the valedictorian of her high school's graduating class. Although she and her boyfriend were dating since high school and planned to marry one day, she received unwanted attention from the young men on campus.

Christmas Break, January 2007

The holidays were a happy time for the Sanderholm family because Jodi's sister was preparing to give birth to a little girl. Jodi was very happy and often bought gifts for her. Jodi was on edge at the time because she had a big performance coming up. She was nervous because she choreographed the performance and wanted it to be perfect. Sinister events started to happen to her and other young girls around campus. Jodi started receiving hang-up calls. On the campus parking lot, female students were reporting slashed tires and keyed cars. As Jodi's best friend was driving home from practice, she notices a car following closely behind her. She stayed in her car and drove to the police station. While sitting in the car, she contemplated if she should get out and file a police report. The car disappeared into the night. She left without filing a police report.

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Forgetting about the incident, the young ladies continued going to practice and on with their lives. On their usual walk to the parking lot from dance practice a car drives up and her best friend looks inside. She is shocked to see it is the same car that had followed her previously. She gets a good look at him, he looked familiar, and she realizes that he is Justin Thurber. Justin is known around the community and hangs with the older crowd. As Justin drives off, Jodi's best friend walks to her car and finds her car tire has been slashed. A stranger walks up and helps her repair the tire. Angry, her best friend calls Jodi to tell her what happened with the tire and stranger and is unable to get an answer. As her best friend put the pieces together she has a gut feeling that it was Justin Thurber who has done this.

Jodi arrives home and pulls up to the mailbox to check the mail. A man comes up to her, forces her into her car, and drives away, abducting her. Her phone is ringing nonstop from her mom, family, and best friend calling. When her sister called her and didn't get an answer, everyone knew something was wrong. Jodi would have never missed a call from her sister since she was so close to giving birth. Panicked and terrified, her family calls the police. Her mom files a police report and since it was a small town, the 24-hour missing person rule did not apply. An immediate investigation ensued and police learned of the strange events that have taken place on campus. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is called in to assist with the investigation and the search was on to look for her car. Meanwhile, Jodi and her captor arrive on the border of Oklahoma and Kansas in a heavily wooded area. He forces her out of the car at knifepoint and orders her to walk deep into the woods. While in the woods, Jodi is strangled, raped, sodomized, and murdered.

Using cellphone data, law enforcement pinpoints where Jodi went after the school parking lot and found that it was in Oklahoma. Officers are sent out to the Kaw Wildlife Area and the tip about Justin Thurber from her best friend is followed up. On January 9th, 2007, Jodi's body is found severely beaten with blunt force trauma, and great care was taken to remove her remains from the branches. 15-minutes away in the lake her car was found. DNA was removed from Jodi's fingernails and a piece of hair was found in her car, all were sent to the lab for testing. Her family and the community were forced to accept the outcome that Jodi is not coming home. Video evidence from campus discovers that Thurber was there stalking and following different dancers around the college. Investigators feel they have their man as his alibi crumbled. His friends and others told police they never saw him that day as he claimed. His DNA was found under her nails and in her car, he was arrested and the case goes to trial. It was revealed by a prosecution witness that Thurber told him he began spying on Sanderholm when he was 13 years old. He watched her as she would swim in her pool and through a window as she dressed. Justin Thurber was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping, capital murder, rape, and sodomy. He was sentenced to death and remains on death row. He has never admitted his role in the murder. He wrote the family a letter saying he would confess to her murder if the death penalty is removed. The family refused to remove the death penalty.

Jodi's Law was written to help people who are being stalked get help from the police. It remains one of the fastest laws to ever go through the state of Kansas.

If you or anyone you love is being stalked, here are some resources:

Stalking Resource Center

Stalking Safety Planning

Safe Horizon

Related Sources and Links:

Justin Thurber

Jodi's Law

Every Step You Take

About the True Crime Empress


About the Creator

Dr. Shakira AKA The True Crime Empress

🩺 Philosopher 🌻 Freelance Scribe 🕵🏽‍♀️True Crime Writer and Researcher ✨ The Missing ✨ Unsolved🌻In Memory Of ✨ Investigation ✨ Criminology🔺Information ✨

All Social Media: @TheDrShakira

Podcast: The Ancient One

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Comments (1)

  • Jazzy 12 months ago

    How sad!

Dr. Shakira AKA The True Crime EmpressWritten by Dr. Shakira AKA The True Crime Empress

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