Ground searches suspended in Shepard search

DAYTON – Investigators decided Wednesday to suspend all ground searches for missing 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard.

Shepard was abducted on May 20 while walking home from school in Dayton. Michael Klunder, who has been identified by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation as her abductor, committed suicide later that same night.

Searchers agreed that the ground search has been exhausted, according to a statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety issued late Wednesday afternoon.

“Ground searches have covered more than 250 square miles in three counties,” the press release stated. “Numerous areas where ground searches were previously performed are now under water due to the flooding.”

While Des Moines River searches are expected to continue, the DPS stated that because of the weather those searches have been temporarily stopped.

“River searches will resume when the river is considered safe to navigate by rescue teams, as determined by the Department of Natural Resources,” the DPS said.

People are still being encouraged to search their property and report anything suspicious to law enforcement.

Although the ground searches have been suspended, the DPS said it won’t stop looking for Shepard.

“Officers want to reiterate that we are not giving up hope of finding Kathlynn, and will continue until we can resolve this horrific act,” the DPS press release stated.

It also thanked the various law enforcement and public safety agencies, as well as volunteers for “their gifts of time, resources, food, supplies and support during this difficult time for all involved.”

If anyone has information on Shepard’s abduction, they are asked to call the Webster County Sheriff’s Department at 573-1410.