National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Ceremony Honors Iowa Homicide Victims

BOONE, Iowa -- Monday is the first day of National Crime Victims' Rights Week and Boone County is holding an event to honor homicide victims in Iowa.

The names of 107 homicide victims in 2016 will be read at the ceremony and the parents of Kathlynn Shepard will be speaking on her behalf and sharing the impact of her tragic story.

Kathlynn Shepard and Dezi Hughes were abducted by Michael Klunder in May 2013 when they were getting off the school bus.

Klunder was a convicted sex offender who was let out of prison for good behavior

Hughes managed to escape, but Kathlynn was brutally murdered and her body was found in the Des Moines River two weeks after her abduction.

Klunder committed suicide after he the kidnapping the two girls and the murder of Shepard.

The Boone County Sheriff’s office collaborated with other local organizations for the ceremony in hopes it will bring awareness to victims rights.

“Anytime that we can come together and recognize a victim I think it has an impactful meaning to society. I mean let’s face it nobody wants to be a victim of a crime and when you are, there’s a variety of ways you can be a victim, sexual assault for example. That can be very emotionally damaging and it will last their entire life and it’s important that those people know they are not forgotten. It matters, what happened to them matters,” Deputy Sheriff Andrew Godzicki said.

Godzicki added he hopes this week will help shift the focus from the criminals to the victims.

“We spend a lot of time focusing on the criminals and their rights. This week is about the victims and their rights and the negative and sometimes positive things that come out of being the victim of a crime,” Godzicki said.

The ceremony is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Boone Historical Society, 602 Story Street.