The search continues for a missing north-central Iowa girl, but authorities say the man who allegedly abducted her has been found dead.
Investigators say 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard of Dayton and a 12-year-old girl, who’s name has not been released, were abducted from a bus stop Monday afternoon. Iowa DCI Director, Charis Paulson, says the girls were taken to an agricultural facility southeast of Dayton.
The 12-year-old girl was able to escape and get help at a rural home. Paulson says they began searching for a red Toyota Tundra and a man identified as the suspect in the case, 42-year-old Michael Klunder.
“At approximately 8 p.m. (Monday), Michael Klunder and the red Toyota Tundra were located at a rural property northeast of Dayton. He was discovered deceased and the cause of death remains under investigation,” Paulson said.
Hundreds of volunteers are helping authorities in the search for Kathlynn Shepard. Paulson is encouraging anyone with information about the case to call the Webster County Sheriff’s office at 515-573-1410.
“What we’re looking for is any information between the hours of 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday, any citizens with information concerning the travels of a red Toyota Tundra within a 25 miles radius of Dayton, or any interaction with Michael Klunder in person or by telephone,” Paulson said.
Shepard was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a Minnesota Vikings cap. Shepard is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes. Paulson said the 12-year-old girl who escaped was taken to a Fort Dodge hospital for evaluation and has been released.
Paulson made her comments at a news conference this morning in Dayton. Authorities are planning to hold another press briefing at 4 p.m. to provide information on any new developments in the case.
Authorities did not mention this in the morning press conference, but a Michael Klunder of Stratford is listed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. The registry shows Klunder was convicted of third-degree kidnapping in Cerro Gordo County in 1992.
Klunder was 20 at the time and the victim was an adult female.
Information on the news conference was provided to Radio Iowa courtesy of KCCI-TV in Des Moines.