Victims

The Shepard family from Dayton Iowa and their friends and supporters came to the capitol  to lobby for tougher penalties for kidnappers.  15 year old  Kathlynn

  

   Shepard  died at the hands of a kidnapper last year, and lawmakers say a stronger law  might have prevented the tragedy. 

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

It’s been just over a month since two girls from Dayton, Iowa were abducted near their bus stop - allegedly by a convicted sex offender who’d served nearly two decades in prison.  Authorities say Michael Klunder abducted the girls and committed suicide later that day.

The fact that Klunder was free at all has prompted questions about how sex offenders are evaluated, treated and monitored. 

This story begins a summer series examining Iowa's correctional system.

LifeTouch, via the Dayton Leader

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.

State troopers narrowed their search Wednesday morning for 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard. She was abducted Monday while walking home from the bus stop in Dayton, Iowa with a younger girl who escaped soon afterwards. Their suspected abductor was found dead later that day. Despite the efforts search party of more than 300 members of law enforcement and volunteers from the area, Shepard has not been found.

Special Agent Bill Keitzman with the Iowa DCI says Wednesday’s search focuses on a smaller area.

Eric Hancock / Flickr

Ben Kieffer talks with rape victim advocates about how to prevent rape in Iowa. We’ll examine the attitudes and opinions that need to change so that Iowa is a safer place for everyone.

Then,  the creator of a new personal safety smart phone app  talks about how he hopes the app will help prevent kidnappings and assaults.

Clay Masters / IPR

In the wake of the discovery the bodies of two northeastern Iowa girls earlier this month, the talk of reinstating the death penalty is back at the state capitol. But proponents of capital punishment know they face a tough fight.

Iowa parents who have lost children due to kidnapping and murder met with Governor Branstad Monday morning to talk about reinstating the death penalty. Afterwards at a press conference, the parents told their stories.

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12/6/12  4:30 PM UPDATE: 

The Black Hawk County Sheriff's Department says they're confident that two bodies discovered Wednesday by hunters in a Bremer County wildlife area are those of Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook-Morrissey. 

"We have no one else that’s missing in this area, we have two bodies that were found, smaller in stature, so we have nothing to think other than that at this time," Sheriff’s Captain Rick Abben said. 

Courtesy photo

The highly acclaimed movie “Argo” is finishing its run through Iowa theaters this week. Directed by Ben Affleck “Argo” depicts the rescue of six U.S. Embassy workers from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

A Waverly woman, Kathryn Koob has a unique prospective of those events because she was one of two women who did not escape and was held by the Revolutionary Guard for 444 days.

Cold Cases

Jul 20, 2012

Early one morning in 1995, anchorwoman Jodi Huisentruit didn’t show up for work at her Mason City TV station.

Her disappearance is one of Iowa’s most discussed unsolved cases. Listen back to host, Ben Kieffer’s, discussion with Beth Bednar about her book on the case called Dead Air.

Then, a look into how state law enforcement goes about investigating dozens of cold cases.

Host Ben Kieffer’s recent conversations with offenders inside the Iowa State Penitentiary prompted this look at the victim’s perspective on violent crime. This hour, Ben talks with Jonna Williams of Waterloo, the victim of a kidnapping and rape in 1994, when she was just 13 years old. Also joining the conversation are Black Hawk County Prosecutor Tom Ferguson and Mary Roche, Director of Victim Programs with the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Contact Jonna about victim’s advocacy through her Facebook page

Bullying

Apr 20, 2012

A 14-year old Iowa boy was laid to rest this week, after family members say he was bullied online and at school. The death of Kenneth Weishuhn comes as the new film, Bully, opens in Des Moines. The documentary follows another student, Alex, who was bullied at his middle school in Sioux City. Ben talks with the filmmakers about the film, about bullying and what can be done to stop it.

JFK Library

Sounds from the 1960s, recorded in Washington, Greenfield and Des Moines. Forty-five years after the slaying of President John F. Kennedy, we hear the voices of several Iowans whose professional lives were touched by the assassination. Recordings courtesy of WHO Radio and private collector Bill Sherman.