The Disappearance Of A College Freshman Revealed A Small Town Stalker

Jodi Sanderholm was a college freshman at Cowley College in Kansas when she went missing after dance practice in 2007.

January 11, 2023
Jodi Sanderholm, pictured here smiling, was a college freshman at Cowley College in Kansas when she went missing after dance practice in 2007.

Jodi Sanderholm was a college freshman at Cowley College in Kansas when she went missing after dance practice in 2007. She was later discovered murdered.

Photo by: Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Murder Under the Friday Night Lights")

Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (Screenshot from ID's "Murder Under the Friday Night Lights")

19-year-old Jodi Sanderholm of Arkansas City, Kansas, was the perfect child in her parents’ eyes. She was the youngest child and her mother’s best friend. She had a knack for dance, her mother said, and she could steal the show without even trying.

Her high school dance team, the Purple Paws, performed at football game halftime shows and during basketball games. Dance is where she met her best friend, Lori, and the pair was inseparable from that moment on. Jodi became the team captain her junior year, and at the end of her senior year, she and Lori moved onto Cowley College, the local community college. The schedule was similar — the Tigerettes dance team provided entertainment for sporting events and regularly performed at events around town.

By Jan. 5, 2007, Jodi was stepping into her second semester and prepping for the busy spring dance season. At practice that day, the team was learning a halftime routine that Jodi had choreographed. Lori remembered Jodi crossing the parking lot in her Tigerettes jacket and climbing into her sporty black Saturn car. The plan was for Jodi to run home and shower and then meet back up with Lori later.

Lori left the parking lot before Jodi, who had paused in her car for a few minutes.

It was the last time Lori saw her best friend alive.

Jodi still lived with her parents, so her mother was shocked when she called from work and Jodi hadn’t arrived at the family home. Being out of touch was unusual for Jodi, so her mom called Lori, but Lori hadn’t seen Jodi since practice. Jodi’s dance instructor didn’t have any information either.

When Jodi’s parents got home from work and their youngest daughter still wasn’t home, they called the police to report her missing. Officers initially responded to the Sanderholm home where they noted that nothing appeared out of place in Jodi’s room, and the shower was dry, implying that she’d never made it home as planned.

As word of Jodi’s disappearance spread through the town, everybody began looking for the young woman. Her parents and friends combed the town. Patrol officers were told to be on the lookout, and missing person fliers appeared in shop windows across Arkansas City.

As chaos and fear swirled in town, Lori suddenly remembered a sickening detail. Four days before Jodi went missing, Lori had been followed by a light blue Cadillac. Before dance practice on the day Jodi disappeared, that same blue Cadillac had been in the parking lot at the gym.

Find out how police linked the blue Cadillac to Jodi’s disappearance on Murder Under the Friday Night Lights on Jan. 11 at 10/9c on ID. More episodes are available now on discovery+.

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