The search continues for a missing 15-year-old girl in Webster County.
Police say 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard and her 12-year-old friend were abducted Monday afternoon in the town of Dayton. The 12-year-old was able to escape and alert police, but after a full day of searching there is still no sign of Kathlynn.
Police have focused their search on three areas; the first is Intersection of 1st Avenue NW and 1st Street NW in Dayton Iowa where the girls were abducted from their bus stop. The second is a home in rural Pilot Mound from where the 12-year-old escaped. The third location is the home in Dayton where the suspect in the abduction, Michael Klunder, was found dead Monday night.
The search was also expanded to the nearby Des Moines River.
Hundreds of volunteers and investigators combed all the locations Tuesday looking for clues and more importantly Kathlynn.
Many area residents joined in the search, “My brother came running through the door and he said this is what happened and I was like I know I just saw it on Facebook, so we got our boots on and went out looking,” volunteer Joel Dolittle said.
He had never met Kathlynn, but says if it was his family he’d be frantic, so he knew he had to help. “We had actually been mushroom hunting earlier in the day and we thought we saw the vehicle over there on Skillet so we went back there.”
After more than 7 miles of searching Dolittle found himself along the Des Moines River. “It’s kind of scary with them out in the water, knowing she could be gone.”
Volunteers spent four hours searching the river and its banks, but the search was called off around 7 p.m. Tuesday. DCI officials say the search is not over, they will begin again early Wednesday and continue to follow up on any leads that could lead them to Kathlynn.
Another community is feeling the effects of the shocking incident, in nearby Stratford residents are reeling from the news that the man police say is responsible for all this was 42-year-old Michael Klunder, who lived in their town.
Klunder was convicted of two kidnappings and assaults in 1992. In the first instance he kidnapped a 21-year old woman. The next day he abducted two 3-year-old girls in Charles City. He was sentenced to 41 years in prison, but was released in 2010.
He is also registered sex offender, but his last listed address is just three blocks from an elementary school.
Klunder apparently lured the girls into his truck Monday by offering them jobs mowing lawns. Authorities later found Klunder dead by apparent suicide in his Stratford home.
Because of his history, police in Evansdale say they will look for a connection between Klunder and the kidnappings of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. The two cousins were abducted last July. Their bodies were found in December.