ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. – A man suspected of stalking members of a college dance team was charged Wednesday with kidnapping, raping and murdering one of the squad's 19-year-old dancers.
"Of course we wanted to bring Jodi safely home to her family. But now it is our job to bring Jodi and her family some peace and her family some closure by bringing them justice," Police Chief Sean Wallace said.
Sanderholm was a member of the Cowley College Tigerette Danceline, which performs at basketball games and community events. Authorities said Thurber kidnapped Sanderholm after following her from dance practice and drove her to a rural area, where he raped and killed her.
After Sanderholm disappeared, two members of the dance team said Thurber had followed them. A former girlfriend also filed a petition for a restraining order against him, saying he stalked her by following her, showing up outside of her family's home and sending her text messages.
Sanderholm's disappearance Jan. 5 prompted days of searching and nightly candlelight vigils, during which the community prayed for her safe return. Her car was found in a lake Jan. 9, and her body was discovered about eight miles away.
Thurber was jailed on $1 million bail. Attorney General Paul Morrison said it was too early to say whether the state would seek the death penalty.
Thurber's lawyer, Tim Frieden, declined comment. His father, Kevin Thurber, said only that the family "sends utmost sympathy" to the Sanderholm family.