After kidnapping, Christian group focused on ‘PR’

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Days after two Iowa girls were kidnapped, a group that gave faith-based counseling to their abductor before his release from prison was preparing to protect its image.

Records released Thursday show that Prison Fellowship vice president Sam Dye sent a statement to the Iowa Department of Corrections that it planned to release — quote — “only if we receive a media inquiry” about Michael Klunder. Dye said he was sending the statement at the request of “our PR folks.”

A huge search was ongoing for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, whose body was later found. A 12-year-old girl escaped, and Klunder committed suicide.

Klunder went through the group’s program, called the InnerChange Freedom Initiative. Records show his counselor wrote that Klunder was “a changed individual with a good opportunity for success.”

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