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MASON CITY, IA – Often times we’re told how to avoid becoming the victim of an abduction, but it’s rare that we would hear how to survive if we were, in fact, snatched suddenly.
“I have no idea why I got out of the car-I guess I was afraid of driving back to Rudd with no tail light.”
There’s no disputing that Lori should never have gotten out of her car that December night in 1991.
The then 21-year old thought the person flashing his lights, trying to get her attention, was a friend.
She pulled over, locked her doors and cracked her window, and realized she didn’t know the man who approached her.
He told her that her taillight was out, so she got out of the car…
“At the same second I realized both my tail lights were on, is when he grabbed me and forced me to the ground,” she recalls.
Lori, who wishes to tell her story, but remain anonymous, believes her evening of terror can help others.
And the man she didn’t know, was Michael Klunder. The same man who resurfaced again this week linked to another violent crime the abduction of two Iowa girls.
But for Lori, Klunder’s name in the news, reminds her of that attack, and how she survived.
“While I was in the car, I kept looking over at him because this was another one of my survival modes. I wanted to be able to identify him, so I would look at him and I thought, he has big ears,” she explains.
Michael sped off and turned off at the first gravel road.
“I went into survival mode, what can I do if get out of this car. Searching around and looking for an escape route,” says Lori.
It was late, and no one was around.
“In my mind I’m thinking if anything happens to me, they’re not going to find my fingerprints, do I take off my gloves and touch everything?”
And then something odd happened in the middle of this violent crime, he stopped at an intersection.
“Thank God he decided to obey the law and stop at the stop sign, who would’ve thought? I know,” says Lori.
That’s when she saw the oncoming vehicle and started doing everything she could to attract their attention. By the grace of God, the people saw her-and turned around to help.
Lori struggled with her attacker and then Klunder pushed her out of the car.
She was safe
“He will never be able to hurt anybody again.”
Friday, Lori tells us that her heart goes out to the families of the girls allegedly abducted by Michael Klunder.
Her hopes and prayers are with them as the search goes on for 15-year old Kathlynn.
Lori lived to tell her story. It appears her quick thinking and ability to remain clear-headed, helped her walk away.
We’re scrutinizing her actions could what Lori did, help any one of us survive should the unthinkable happen?
Lori’s story of survival can be a lesson to many. The decisions she made that December night saved her life.
Jessica Tierney is a self defense instructor and has heard Lori’s story.
“When you look at all the best self defense techniques in the world, your absolute best weapon is always your brain and staying calm,” explains Tierney.
She says Lori’s quick and clear thinking was the key to her escape.
“That was brilliant that she thought of that with the fingerprints because that’s things that we talk about too whether it be pull out some of your hairs and leave them somewhere, leave a hair tie stuffed under the seat, something that indicates, I was there.”
Tierney says in situations where people are being taken to a second location it’s encouraged they fight back. But she also says it’s a matter of waiting for that window of opportunity which is exactly what Lori did when she saw a car drive by.
“She immediately started trying to get someone’s attention because in that kind of situation, that’s what you want is assistance,” says Tierney.
When it comes to what Lori could have done differently, Tierney says it doesn’t really matter.
“I’m sure she’s gone over it a million times in her head and said “Oh I shouldn’t have done this I should have done that,” but they key there is that she survived and so she did something right,” adds Tierney.