As the community of Dayton comes together to honor the life of murdered Kathlynn Shepard, her family and state lawmakers are discussing possible changes to the state’s laws regarding sentencing of sex offenders.
Fifteen-year-old Kathlynn Shepard was abducted in Dayton, along with a 12-year-old friend who was able to get away, by Michael Klunder on May 20th. Klunder killed himself later that day.
Volunteers searched for her for weeks, but her body wasn’t discovered until Friday. Fisherman found her in the Des Moines River in Boone County, about 20 miles from where she was abducted from. The results of her autopsy show she died from blunt force trauma before Klunder put her in the river.
Klunder served just 19 years of a 41 year prison sentence despite kidnapping four different people over the years.
Michael Shepard, Kathlynn's father, says his family will fight to change the current sexual assault laws so offenders cannot earn time for quote "good" behavior.
Governor Terry Branstad says although Iowa law now provides automatic reduction in the length of a state prison sentence, it's time to rethink current practices.
“I think it is appropriate that we review these provisions, especially as it affects violent sexual predators are a bad risk. The parole board to its credit, three times turned this individual down for parole,” said Branstad at his weekly news conference Monday.
Monday night, the community of Dayton will come together in honor of Kathlynn Shepard. A tree of hope lighting ceremony will take place at 8:30 p.m. on the northwest corner of town -- near the Casey's General Store.
The tree will be purple -- Kathlynn's favorite color.