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Iowa Lawmakers OK Tougher Penalties for Kidnapping

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers have approved a bill seeking to increase penalties for kidnapping cases involving minors after hearing from the mother of murder victim Kathlynn Shepard.

A subcommittee and then the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the bill Thursday.

In urging passage of the bill, Denise Shepard told subcommittee members the story of her daughter's killing last May. She says legislation to keep kidnapping offenders in jail longer would save children's lives.

The bill would increase criminal penalties in cases involving children 16 and younger and cases in which the person convicted had previously been convicted of kidnapping.

Kathlynn was 15 when she and a 12-year-old friend were kidnapped by Michael Klunder while walking home from school in Dayton.

The 12-year-old escaped but authorities say Klunder killed Kathlynn and committed suicide.