Officials suspend search for missing Iowa girl
DAYTON – Iowa authorities have suspended the search for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard six days after she and a 12-year-old friend were abducted on Monday.
The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation suspended the search for at least two days because all the places they expected to find Kathlynn have been searched several times.
Special agent Bill Kietzman said law enforcement will regroup this week to determine where to look next for Kathlynn.
“We’ve searched everything numerous times,” Kietzman said. “At some point you have to trust your searchers that you’ve done a good search, and that she’s just not where you’d hope she would be.”
Police believe 42-year-old Michael Klunder abducted the girls at their school bus stop in Dayton. The younger girl escaped but Kathlynn hasn’t been found.
Klunder committed suicide hours after the younger girl escaped the hog confinement building where he worked.
Authorities found Kathlynn’s blood on Klunder’s truck and at the hog confinement site last week, so the hopes of finding the girl alive have been diminished.
Saturday’s search for Kathlynn was hindered by rain and soggy conditions, but volunteers remain determined to find the girl.
Angie Lambert, whose daughter rode the school bus with Kathlynn, helped make thousands of purple ribbons on Saturday because purple is Kathlynn’s favorite color.
“I think the more days that go by, the more people you see showing up to help,” Lambert said. “We are a determined community, willing to do whatever it takes.”
On Sunday, the teen’s father thanked law enforcement and volunteers for helping search for his daughter since.
Michael Shepard said he doesn’t think the man police say took his daughter and a 12-year-old girl should have been released from prison after being twice convicted of kidnapping and assault.
Shepard said he hopes to help change the law to “help keep this from happening to anybody else, so no one else has to suffer.”