Search continues for missing girl

DAYTON – Officials have identified the man suspected of kidnapping two Dayton girls yesterday and confirmed that Michael Klunder, 42, was found dead in his vehicle.

At a news conference in Dayton at 10 a.m., a spokeswoman said the girls were taken to a rural agricultural facility near Dayton. Although the 12-year-old escaped and ran to a rural residence, 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard is still missing.

The younger girl was taken to Trinity Regional Medical Center, where she was treated and released. The spokeswoman said the 12-year-old provided valuable information to authorities.

The cause of Klunder’s death is under investigation.

A coordinated search Monday night was hampered by the large geographic area – as much as 75 to 100 miles – darkness and unstable weather conditions.

Today’s search includes a large law enforcement presence from Webster, Boone and surrounding counties. In addition, there are canines and aircraft participating in the search. Officials are requesting the public’s assistance, particularly anyone who has information from between 3 and 8 p.m. Monday, to call the Webster County Sheriff’s office at 573-1410.

Volunteer response has been outstanding, the spokeswoman said, and additional volunteers are not needed at this time. However, if someone wants to volunteer, he or she can contact Webster County Emergency at 571-6483 and leave a message including name, contact numbers and any pertinent resources.

Another briefing is planned at 4 p.m. today.

No additional information is available at this time, the spokeswoman said.