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KIMT News 3 – As the search for the missing Webster County Girl is continuing, more information is surfacing about the lead suspect in the case Michael James Klunder.
We have confirmed that Klunder was born in Mason City, but that’s not the only information we’ve discovered.
According to Sheriff Kevin Pals from the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office, on December 15, 1991 a 22-year-old woman was driving in Cerro Gordo County, when things took an unexpected turn.
“The victim said she was driving on Highway 122, a car behind her was flashing his lights. She pulled over to the side, locked her doors, and rolled her windows up,” said Pals.
The man driving behind her was 20-year-old Michael James Klunder.
Klunder approached the car, and told her that her tail-light was out.
The woman stepped out of her car to check, and didn’t expect what came next.
“Forced her into his car, took off driving with her, and then turned off the highway onto a gravel road. Victim was very courageous trying to save her own life, fighting with the assailant, said Pals.
The woman was able to attract attention of a passerby by waving her hands outside the car window.
The man followed Klunder’s car, in which Klunder then pushed the woman out.
He would later be charged in that case with kidnapping and assault.
But that’s not the only case of kidnapping in his past.
Klunder was also charged with kidnapping two 3-year-old toddlers from Charles City.
They were later found alive and unharmed in a dumpster in Northwood.
Klunder was also charged with kidnapping in that case.
Sheriff Pals says with that laundry list of crimes, it’s no surprise to see kidnapping suspects like Klunder doing this more than once.
“I guess my past law enforcement experience leads me to believe most kidnappers will kidnap again or assault again if their not caught again,” said Pals.
Klunder was sentenced for his crimes in 1992, and was later released from prison in February of 2011.
He was added to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry, and according to those documents, Klunder was living in Stratford, Iowa up until his death on Monday.
There has also been speculation in connection between Klunder and the missing Evansdale cousins, Lyric and Elizabeth.
Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock says investigators were looking into whether Klunder had any ties to the Evansdale area.
He says it’s too early in the current investigation, to see if it’s related to the Evansdale case at all.