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ALGONA, Iowa – It’s been a little more than four months now since two Iowa girls were kidnapped while walking home from school in Dayton. One of the girls survived the ordeal but the other did not.
The body of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard was found in the Des Moines River near Boone in early June, about 2 weeks after she went missing.
Authorities believe Kathlynn, along with 12-year-old Dezi Hughes, were abducted by Michael Klunder. Klunder killed himself shortly after the abduction before authorities could question him.
Dezi was able to escape and now, both Dezi and Kathlynn are still on the minds of people all across Iowa. On Saturday, a motorcycle ride took place in their honor.
“My daughter-in-law worked with the two girls in school that were kidnapped,” said Tom Powers, who organized the event.
When Powers heard two girls were kidnapped, he wanted to help. So he, along with hundreds of his friends, provided a motorcycle escort for Kathlynn Shepard’s funeral, which gave him the idea for this event.
“We’ve had an awful lot of support from all over the state of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois,” said Powers.
It’s called Kickstands up for Kathlynn and Drivin’ for Dezi. Two groups drove their motorcycles or cars across Iowa. One group started in Algona and another started in Des Moines. The two groups met at Kathylnn’s Tree of Hope in Dayton. And Dezi Hughes, who survived the kidnapping, is also participating in the ride.
“For the gal that escaped, you know, it’s a fun run for her and it means a lot being veterans,” sai d Mike Stedman, a Mason City man who participated in the ride.
“I”m glad everybody showed up and it should be a fun time and a good day for it,” said Stedman.
“I want to thank everybody that’s supported this. I’ve worked a lot of benefits and this has been the most heart wrenching one I”ve ever worked,” said Powers.
A portion of the proceeds raised from this event will go to the Chelsea Shield Foundation, which is helping the Shepard and Hughes families to change the laws in Iowa to keep violent sex offenders behind bars for life.