Local Woman’s Link to Kidnapping Suspect

Search for Missing Teen

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MASON CITY, IA –  We are talking with a survivor of an attack by the man accused of kidnapping two Iowa girls on Monday.  Lori was abducted by Michael Klunder in the 1990’s, and she tells us her personal terror is over now that he is dead, but she can’t shake the image of Kathlynn from her mind and wants to reach out to the teenager’s family.

December 15th, 1991 turned into a fight for Lori.  Today and each day since, she has thought of how she managed to survive. “I had no idea who he was when this happened. Just from how he was with me, he just seemed like a very angry person and I guess just a monster.”  Lori has asked us not to show her face.  She doesn’t want the focus on her, what she wants is for the family of Kathlynn to know, she can’t quit thinking about them or praying for the teenager’s safe return.  “I don’t know if hearing my story will help at all. I just want them to know I got through it and I know they can too.”

The man police believe kidnapped Kathlynn is the same man who attacked Lori.  Michael James Klunder was 20-years-old when he tricked this woman into pulling her car off the side of the road.  Klunder said her tail-light was out and when she got out to check, Klunder forced her into his car.  But Lori was determined to survive.  “He’ll never be able to hurt anybody ever again and yes there was a sense of relief I was living in fear every day for myself and my kids and my husband.”

Years later she remembers when her attacker’s name resurfaced with another violent crime.  “I had heard on the news that it was Michael Klunder and I was just sick I was devastated and I was so distraught I had to leave work.”   Lori tears up when talking about what these two girls went through. But says there is hope.  “I am so full of hope right now she is alive. We need to find her.  Just praying and hoping she comes home safe.”

THURSDAY UPDATE ON SEARCH FOR KATHLYNN SHEPARD

DAYTON, IA – It’s now been three days since two north-central Iowa teens were abducted.  A 12-year-old escaped, but 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard is still missing.   Investigators held a news conference late this afternoon and revealed new evidence in the case.  DCI agents say Kathlynn’s blood was found on the tailgate of the suspect’s truck, as well as at the hog confinement where the girls were taken on Monday.  They also revealed that the suspect 42-year-old Michael Klunder committed suicide by hanging himself.  DCI says they are certain he acted alone, and his wife is not a suspect.
Meanwhile, the 12-year-old who escaped is speaking with local newspaper the Dayton Leader and Iowa Public Radio.  She said Klunder had pulled his truck over to talk with her and Kathlynn and told the girls they could earn money mowing lawns. He said he would drive them home but took them to the hog confinement instead.  She said Klunder put zip ties around their hands and took Kathlynn to another area on the grounds.  That’s when the 12-year-old escaped, and took a gun with her that he had left behind.  She was eventually able to get help.

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