Handling missing person cases

KIMT News 3 - There have been a number of missing people in our area; some cases have been solved, while others remain a mystery as to their whereabouts.

According to national data, each day in the U.S., 2,300 people are reported missing.

In May of 2013, 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard disappeared while walking home from school near Dayton.

Her body was discovered two weeks later in a river in Boone and authorities believe Kathlynn was abducted and killed by north Iowa native Michael Klunder.

Another missing person case in north Iowa happened in September of 2013 when 22-year-old Hampton resident Ethan Kazmerzak went missing.

After six months of searching for answers and asking all sorts of new questions, there have been few leads and no results.

Recently, authorities from New Hampton have began their search for 16-year-old Ashlee Ruhl.

She was last seen on Friday, March 7th and as of right now authorities are considering her case to be a “run-away” case, which police describe as a situation where Ashlee could have left voluntarily.

To contrast all of these cases, on Thursday morning a body was found and identified in Dodge County as being that of Noah Graddy.

The 15-year-old Byron teen went missing in January and the investigation into Noah’s death and disappearance is still ongoing.

While all of these cases are very different, they do have some similarities and continue to leave family and friends of the missing people with many questions.

Authorities from the Mason City Police Department say that whether the case is considered to be a “run-away” or an abduction, they handle any and all missing people cases the same way.

“They’re both considered missing persons,” said Lt. Ron Vande Weerd with the Mason City Police Department.

He says that situations can change when it comes to run-away cases and their philosophy is that it is better to be safe than sorry and not overlook anything pertaining to missing people.

Vande Weerd also said that elderly people with dementia are at an increased risk of becoming a missing person as they leave their homes, are unattended and can often times forget where they are going and where they have been.

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