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May 28, 2013  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

Teen still missing after taking ride from stranger

By Thomas McMahon


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Investigators released this school bus video surveillance image of Kathlynn Shepard exiting her bus shortly before she was abducted. The 15-year-old was wearing jeans, a gray T-shirt and a Cubs ball cap.
<p>Investigators released this school bus video surveillance image of Kathlynn Shepard exiting her bus shortly before she was abducted. The 15-year-old was wearing jeans, a gray T-shirt and a Cubs ball cap.</p>
DAYTON, Iowa — A 15-year-old girl is still missing after she and another girl got in a stranger's vehicle at their school bus stop here last week.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety said that on May 20, Kathlynn Shepard and a 12-year-old girl were lured into a man's truck shortly after exiting their school bus. The man reportedly made them an offer to earn money for mowing grass.

The girls told the man that they had to ask their parents first. He then offered to drive the girls to their homes.

However, the man did not stop at their homes, saying that they could call on his cell phone when they arrived. He took the girls to a hog confinement, where he zip-tied their hands in an attached office.

The man then took Shepard out of the building, and the 12-year-old was able to free her hands and escape. She ran into the woods, waited a short time and then continued running to a farmer’s house, where the first 911 call was placed.

Later that night, the suspect, 42-year-old Michael J. Klunder, was found dead at another location. After an autopsy, his death was classified as suicide by hanging. Klunder was a registered sex offender.

Officers and volunteers conducted an extensive search for Shepard throughout the week, scouring fields, a river and wooded areas over roughly 220 square miles. On the weekend, law enforcement scaled back the search to focus on terrain that is more difficult to navigate. On Tuesday this week, authorities regrouped to decide how to proceed.

Early in the search, blood was found on the ground at the hog confinement and on the tailgate of Klunder's red pickup truck. DNA testing later identified it as Shepard's blood.

Investigators released a school bus video surveillance image of Shepard exiting the bus shortly before she was abducted. The teen, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall with blond hair and blue eyes, was wearing jeans, a gray T-shirt and a Cubs ball cap.


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Read more about: Iowa, law enforcement, school bus stops, video surveillance


That's a damn shame. At fifteen years old, you should know better than going with strangers. Parents have to continue talking with their kids and enforcing these important points. It's to prepare them to respond properly when they're alone. I pray that we find her alive and safe. Hopefully, she's hiding out somewhere. Whenever there is a strange vehicle or person at my stop, my driver ALWAYS asks me who they are to ensure I'll be unloaded in a safe situation and I'm a SENIOR in high school. I know that the driver must be feeling awful as well. I pray that she is found.

Archie    |    May 29, 2013 01:01 PM

I'd wish the perp dead, but he's apparently already done that himself. I hate these people that would abduct and make helpless a child or anybody else. I hope that Shepard is found and the story ends happily, but it doesn't sound good. Justice would have been better served if Shepard had killed Klunder. These criminals make the rest of us who do offer to give rides to younger kids look like criminals ourselves to panicky parents.

Alexander Rogge    |    May 29, 2013 02:23 AM

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