Hundreds gathered in a north central Iowa school early this afternoon for the funeral of Kathlynn Shephard, the 15-year-old who was kidnapped in May after she got off a school bus in Dayton. Her body was found in the Des Moines River last Friday.
Mike Shephard, Kathlynn’s father, spoke briefly during the service. Shephard said all his daughter ever wanted was “to be happy and help” others.
“There was not a time that I can remember her turning down anybody who asked for help and I think as she looks down on us now she has seen everybody who has helped, both in the search…and the recovery…and to everybody who helped feed and hydrate the searchers and I think she’s smiling on you guys,” Shephard said. “I know she’s smiling on your guys and I want you guys to take that to your heart because thank you is never enough.”
Shephard wore a Minnesota Vikings jersey, as it was his daughter’s favorite team.
“There’s never enough kindness and if you can do one kind thing a day — even if you don’t want to do that one kind thing — I want you to think of Kathlynn and do one kind thing a day and we can make this world a better place. Thank you very much,” Shephard said, and funeral-goers rose to their feet to applaud his remarks.
Pastor Dan Munson urged the crowd to continue supporting the family.
“I don’t know why God allows evil to happen like it does, but I know that God is ever-loving,” Munson said. “The God that I serve, the God that I know, just stands beside us and waits for us to reach out for him.”
Authorities say 42-year-old Michael Klunder of Stratford is the only suspect in the kidnapping of Shephard and a 12-year-old girl in Dayton on May 20th. The 12-year-old escaped. Klunder committed suicide on the day of the kidnapping. Klunder had been paroled after serving about 19 years on a 41-year sentence for a 1992 kidnapping. State officials, including the governor, have said they will review Klunder’s case to see if Iowa sentencing and parole guidelines should be changed.