AUTOPSY RESULTS: Answers In Kathlynn’s Death

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The family of Kathlynn Shepard finally has some answers as to what happened to her.

Sunday morning, state authorities released the autopsy results on the body found in the Des Moines River Friday night near Boone.

Officials confirmed the body is the previously missing 15-year-old. The Webster County teen was abducted on May 20th after getting off the school bus near Dayton.

Friday evening, fishermen found Shepard’s body caught in a log jam under the Kate Shelley High Bridge over 15 miles downstream in Boone County.

The state medical examiner says Shepard died from multiple sharp and blunt force injuries.

The manner of death is considered a homicide.

Investigators believe that registered sex offender Michael Klunder kidnapped Shepard and her 12-year-old friend.

Fortunately her friend was able to escape.

Authorities believe Klunder killed Shepard, dumped her body in the Des Moines River before taking his own life.

The confirmation provides little comfort to the Shepard family other than finally offering official word of what happened to their daughter.

The family released a statement through the Dayton Leader saying, “Our hearts are broken at the loss of Kathlynn. Her beautiful smile, laughter, song and love of the Vikings will be forever missed.

“The hole in our hearts will never be completely healed. As we move forward on getting the laws changed, we ask for your continued support, dedication and conviction. This is for the safety for all children across America."

Kahtlynn's parents are referring to how Michael Klunder was ever allowed out of prison.

He was convicted after attacking a young woman when he was a teenager. Later he kidnapped and assaulted a woman and then kidnapped two three year olds and left them in a dumpster.

He received a 41 year prison sentence but only served 19 of those after being released in 2011.

Dayton mayor, Richard Travis described how he hopes a tree lighting ceremony on Monday at 8:30 p.m. will help be a catalyst for the community to get those laws changed, “We welcome everyone to attend, again we’re treating the ceremony as a tree of hope and that`s how were going to continue this movement to get the law changed.”

That tree lighting had originally been planned before searchers found Kathlynn.

The tree is located on the northwest corner of Dayton near the Casey’s general store.


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