Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

John Grundhofer

Real Name: John F. "Jack" Grundhofer
Case: Kidnapping
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: November 19, 1990


Details: On November 19, 1990, wealthy business executive John Grundhofer arrived at his offices at 8:10am in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As he exited his car in the parking garage, a man calling himself "Carl" approached him and tried to abduct him at gunpoint. However, John tried to struggle with him. A witness named Jeff Rasmusson heard the commotion and responded, but the gunman ordered him to leave. At 8:13am, the gunman ordered John into his own car and forced him to drive out of the garage to Wisconsin with dynamite handcuffed to his arm. A passerby soon found a note in the garage which the FBI believed to be the "cheat sheet" for the gunman. It would remind him about everything he was going to order John to do, suggesting to police that he was not a professional. At around 8:45am, he and John had crossed the state line into Wisconsin. The gunman asked John a few questions, which led him to believe that he had done research about his company. At 8:57am, he was ordered to pull into a secluded rest area, where the gunman told him that he wanted $3 million ransom. He called his secretary and told her of the gunman's demands. This again suggested to police that this was not a professional because he asked for thousand-dollar bills. The employees at First National Bank System began preparing the ransom, but when the gunman realized he had lost his cheat sheet, he became frustrated and had John go down a hill. The gunman removed the dynamite, tied him up, forced him into a sleeping bag, and taped his mouth shut before vanishing. It took twenty minutes for him to free himself, and at 10:25am, he called his office from a farmhouse. The ransom was never paid. The kidnapping made national news and the FBI set up a hotline. A man named John Henderson was identified by several people as the kidnapper after seeing a composite of the man. He was a maintenance man who had no apparent connection to John; a search of his house turned up nothing. However, he participated in a lineup, where John identified him as the kidnapper. However, Jeff Rasmusson did not identify him as the kidnapper. Nevertheless, the FBI continued to look for evidence, and although a handwriting test did not match, they believed that his alibi was not airtight. He was subject to a grand jury investigation, but no charges were ever filed. A $100,000 reward is being offered in this case.

Grundhofer kidnapper

A composite of the kidnapper

Suspects: The FBI considers Henderson a suspect in this case. The kidnapper was described as 6'2, 250 pounds, had thick, yellow-tinted glasses and had a ruddy complexion. He has never been identified.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 10, 1993 episode. Two months before the kidnapping, John's daughter, Karen, survived being shot during the Henry's Pub hostage incident in Berkeley, California.
Results: Unsolved. Henderson was later cleared as a suspect; the true kidnapper was never identified. Interestingly, there has been some recent speculation that John actually staged the kidnapping in order to gain sympathy from the public. This theory was never confirmed. Sadly, he passed away on January 24, 2021.