A body found in the Des Moines River is suspected to be that of abducted 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, according to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. An autopsy will be conducted this morning to confirm identification.
At a press conference just after midnight, DCI agent Gerard Meyers said the body was found partially covered under the Kate Shelley High Bridge in Boone County, far downriver from where Shepard was last seen. Meyers said clothing found with the body was consistent with what Shepard was wearing at the time of the abduction on May 20. Investigators also found zip ties that matched those used on a second abductee who escaped, 12-year-old Dezirea Hughes.
Webster County Sheriff James Stubbs took a moment to thank community members who helped with the search, with both manpower and donations.
“This wasn’t the outcome we were looking for, but by the same token it brings closure,” Stubbs said. “We were robbed of some innocence. It’ll never quite be the same, but hopefully time will heal some of those wounds.”
Shepard and Hughes were abducted on May 20 as they walked home from a bus stop in Dayton by 42-year-old Michael Klunder. Klunder hanged himself hours after the kidnapping; his body was found at a hog confinement where he was employed.