Sanderholm Family Witnesses Jodi's Law Signing

July 09, 2008
  • Jodi Leann Sanderholm
Jodi Leann Sanderholm

by Rebecca Gannon (ARKANSAS CITY, Kan.)

Kansas' Jodi's Law has already been used three times and it's been on the books for less than two weeks.  The law more clearly defines stalking and allows law enforcement to intervene in cases sooner than they previously could have. 

It's named after 19-year-old Cowley College student Jodi Sanderholm.  Governor Kathleen Sebelius ceremonially signed the law in Arkansas City on Wednesday.

It took 18 months to get to this moment and mere seconds for Governor Sebelius to  sign it.  "Thank you Kathleen for signing the bill," said Brian Sanderholm, Jodi's father, "Thank you all for being behind us. It's really made something good out of something bad."    

Sanderholm says his daughter Jodi was stalked before being kidnapped, raped, and murdered.  Since then the family has worked to pass tougher stalking laws in Kansas.    

Jodi's law went into effect July 1. "It's already been used three times," said Jodi's sister Jennifer. "And that is just incredible. And hopefully this won't happen to anyone else. Nobody else will have to lose their sister, like Jason and I did. No one else will lose their daughter like Mom and Dad did."         


"It's very gratifying. I was waiting for July 1st, and I was thrilled when it came," said State Representative Kasha Kelley. She first introduced the bill in January, 2007.  "It really tightens down law enforcement's ability to be able to understand what is a threat to a reasonable person, how often it's happened, and who it's happening to."              

Read Jodi's Law

With Jodi's law now on the books, the Sanderholm family hopes no one else will have to deal with what they did.    

"To lose somebody is a horrible thing," said Colby Wilson, Jodi's boyfriend of more than four years. "To be able to keep that from happening ever again - maybe not ever, but to have a system set up to help avoid that, that's what's really important to us."

Prosecutors have charged 25-year-old Justin Thurber with Sanderholm's murder. He faces the death penalty if convicted. Thurber's trial starts this fall with jury selection scheduled for October 6th.

Look for updates as the trial gets closer on Eyewitness Newscasts and here at

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