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.