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Suspect in girl’s disappearance – a convicted sex offender – now dead; girl still not found


Webster County, IOWA — More than 120 officers and 200 first responders and volunteers searched throughout the day in Webster, Boone and Hamilton Counties, trying to locate 15 year old Kathlynn Shepard. The search has been driven by investigative leads. This information continues to direct law enforcement to search locations within 20 miles of Dayton, Iowa. These locations include areas around four different addresses that law enforcement know were associated with the abduction:

  • Intersection of 1st Avenue NW and 1st Street NW, Dayton Iowa — This site is where Kathlynn and a 12 year old girl were abducted shortly after exiting their school bus.
  • 3023 400th Street in rural Pilot Mound, Iowa — This site is where the 12 year old girl escaped from the abductor and ran to a nearby home at approximately 4:30 PM.
  • 339 Taylor Avenue in rural Dayton, Iowa — This is the location the suspect, 42 year old Michael J. Klunder, was found dead at approximately 8:00 PM. Preliminary information indicates Klunder died of self-inflicted injuries. His red, Toyota Tundra pickup which was described by the 12 year old, was also located at this address.
  • 924 Byron Street, Stratford, Iowa — This is Klunder’s residence.

As officers and volunteers continue the search near these locations and around Dayton, Iowa, citizens are asked to submit any information they have surrounding Kathlynn’s whereabouts or the whereabout of her suspected abductor.

If you have any information related to the disappearance of Shepard or may have come in contact with Klunder between 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM on Monday, May 20, 2013, please contact law enforcement immediately at 515-573-1410. In particular, residents in and around the area where Boone, Webster and Hamilton counties meet, are asked to keep an eye out for the missing girl.

Kathlynn is 5’6″ and 160 pounds. She has blond hair and blue eyes, as well as braces. She was last seen wearing jeans, a grey hooded sweatshirt and a Minnesota Vikings baseball cap.

Additional volunteers are not needed at this time, however, they may be needed in the near future. If you would like to contribute to the search for Kathlynn, please call Webster County Emergency Management at 515-571-6483. Please leave a message for search coordinators indicating your name and contact number, as well as any resources you may be able to provide.

Additional information will be provided as the search for Kathlynn and the criminal investigation proceed.

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