Investigators say they’ve ruled out Michael Klunder as a “person of interest” in the unsolved disappearance and murders of Evansdale cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook-Morrissey almost two years ago.
Klunder is the convicted sex offender who authorities say committed suicide after abducting two girls near Dayton in Webster County last May. One of the girls escaped and Klunder was found dead. Kathlynn Shepard’s body was later found in the Des Moines River.
Because of the similarities between the two high-profile cases, Evansdale police chief Kent Smock says an investigation team was assigned to gather evidence concerning Klunder’s whereabouts on July 13, 2012, the date Collins and Cook-Morrissey disappeared.
According to Smock, the evidence shows no connection between the two cases at this time. Smock says Klunder hasn’t been the sole focus of the local case. Even though it hasn’t been in the public eye, Smock says investigators are still receiving and reviewing evidence and they remain confident that the case will eventually be solved. The girls’ bodies were found in December 2012, in a secluded area of Bremer County.
A $175,000 reward is offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. Anyone with information should call Evansdale police at 319-232-6682, Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at 866-300-8477, or any law enforcement agency. Callers can remain anonymous.
By Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein