UPDATE: Authorities confirm Klunder suicide

DAYTON – Authorities have confirmed that Michael Klunder, who is suspected in the abduction of two Dayton girls Monday, committed suicide.

The Stratford man’s body was found in his vehicle last night at 3319 Taylor Ave. in rural Dayton.

Klunder, who was a registered sex offender with multiple convictions, is suspected of kidnapping 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who is still missing, and a 12-year-old girl who escaped to a rural residence at 3023 400th St. near Pilot Mound.

More than 120 law enforcement officers from Webster, Boone and Calhoun counties along with 200 first responders and volunteers, continue to search for the missing teen.

“Our plan is to find Kathlynn alive,” said Special Agent Bill Kietzman of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, who said authorities are “very optimistic” that she is still alive.

The FBI is now involved, and Shepard’s photo distributed statewide.

“We are following every lead in this case,” Kietzman said.

Another briefing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Regarding the 12-year-old, Kietzman described her as “very lucky” and said officials are “very thankful she is OK.”

He decline to answer some questions at the press conference saying official are “remain focused on the search” for Shepard.

Additional search volunteers are not needed at this time. However, he said the Webster County Emergency Management office will serve as the search coordinator, and anyone who want to volunteer Wednesday should contact the office at 571-6483, leaving a message with name, resources and contact number.

The search area has been extensive and is being expanded, Kietzman said.

“We are searching many, many areas,” he said.