Body believed to be Kathlynn Shepard’s found

BOONE – A body believed to be that of Kathlynn Shepard was recovered from the Des Moines River Friday.

During a midnight press conference in Boone, Gerard Meyers, assistant director of field operations for the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said that the body was recovered after Boone law enforcement received a 911 call at 6:59 p.m. Friday.

According to Meyers, the body was caught in a logjam near the Kate Shelley High Bridge, approximately 3 miles west of Boone.

An autopsy is scheduled for today, Meyers said. Once the autopsy is completed, a positive identification will be made.

Shepard, 15, was abducted from Dayton, along with a 12-year-old girl, while walking home after getting off a school bus May 20. Michael Klunder, the man identified by law enforcement as her abductor, committed suicide the same day the girls were taken.

The 12-year-old escaped and alerted authorities.

Since the abduction, law enforcement had been searching for the Shepard, with ground searches covering more than 250 square miles in three counties. While volunteer and ground searches had been suspended, professional rescuers continued the search.

Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs said Friday that even though there may not have been people physically looking for Shepard, the search never stopped.

Parts of the Des Moines River were searched Thursday by members of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Police said Klunder lured the girls into his vehicle and took them to a hog confinement building where he worked, tying the girls’ hands with zip ties. The 12-year-old girl was able to break free and run through the woods to safety when Klunder took Shepard to another part of the property.

Klunder was found dead hours later after hanging himself at another rural property.

Investigators said Shepard’s blood was found on the grounds of the hog facility and on Klunder’s truck, dampening the hopes of finding her alive.

Klunder, 42, was released from prison in 2011 after serving nearly 20 years for the 1991 kidnappings of a 21-year-old woman he tried to assault and two 3-year-old girls who were kidnapped and left in a Dumpster. He had recently been married and bought a house in Stratford, near Dayton.