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.