National News

May 23, 2013 5:48 PM by Associated Press

Investigator: Missing Iowa Girl's Blood Found

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Investigators have discovered the blood of a missing 15-year-old Iowa girl on the truck of a man suspected of kidnapping her Monday, diminishing the chances of finding her alive, a lead investigator said Thursday.

DNA testing confirmed that the blood found on the truck and in a hog confinement facility where authorities believe 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard was taken after she was abducted belonged to the girl, said Bill Kietzman, special agent in charge of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Kietzman said the amount of blood found was enough to show that she suffered some injuries, and with three days having passed since she disappeared, those developments "do not work in our favor."

"We are not giving up hope that we can find Kathlynn. Our intent is to find her and bring her home to her family. Clearly this evidence diminishes our hopes that we're going to find her in a safe manner," he said at a news conference, vowing that the search would continue.

Kathlynn and her 12-year-old friend were kidnapped while walking home from school in Dayton, a rural area about 60 miles north of Des Moines.

Authorities believe the suspect, Michael Klunder, lured the two girls into his truck by offering to give them a ride and to pay them money for mowing lawns, and then took them to a hog confinement building where he worked, Kietzman said.

Klunder then tied the girls' hands with zip ties at an office inside the building. During the kidnapping, he displayed a gun that is used to euthanize livestock, Kietzman said.

The investigator said Klunder took Kathlynn to a different part of the building, and the 12-year-old girl was able to free her hands and escape. The younger girl grabbed the gun that Klunder had left behind and ran through the woods, eventually finding a farmer and called 911. Police then started looking for Kathlynn.

Klunder, 42, was found dead hours later at another rural property, where his truck was found. Authorities said he committed suicide; an autopsy completed Wednesday determined the cause of death was hanging.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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