Scaled-back search continues

DAYTON – As the search for Kathlynn Shepard entered its second week, investigators spent Memorial Day following up on any tips that had been called in, hoping to find the abducted teenager.

Shepard, 15, was abducted May 20 while walking home from school a school bus stop. Michael Klunder, 42, who the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has identified as her abductor, committed suicide by hanging later that night.

Dayton Police Chief Nick Dunbar said Monday that four investigators were taking calls and prepared to respond.

“We’re operating on a phone-call-by-phone-call basis,” he said. “I’ve pretty much got a squad of guys that I can call at any time.”

Although it’s been a week since Shepard disappeared, Dunbar said investigators are still following up leads.

“We’re still not giving up,” he said. “We’ve still got DNR (Department of Natural Resources) boats out there and we have aircraft flying when possible.”

Dunbar said there are even some citizens still out looking for Shepard, even though the Iowa Department of Public Safety said Friday citizen volunteers are no longer needed.

He also commended those who are searching over the holiday weekend.

“It’s outstanding,” he said. “We rely on the fire department and EMS, and the amount of dedication they’ve shown is above and beyond what’s expected of them. You never can find the words to say enough.”

Volunteer professional rescuers were still responding as recently as Sunday.

“We had about 20 people here Sunday,” Dunbar said. “The Rockwell City Fire Department met us here on their own. We never asked for their help, but they showed up and checked in with us to see what we needed.”

Regarding future searches, Dunbar said it’s unclear what will happen. He said investigators will meet today to figure out where to go next.

“We’re going to try to figure out what resources to pull and where,” he said.

The weather will also play a role in how much is searched.

Reports of large hail in Jefferson had Dunbar concerned about how much ground could be covered.

Still, he remained thankful for all the help available.

“We have horseback teams and ATV teams,” he said. “You name it, and I can have them rounded up.”

And despite the fact the search for Shepard has been challenging, Dunbar said investigators aren’t giving up.

“It’s frustrating, but we’ll keep at it,” he said. “We’re determined to find her , and we will find her.”