Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
DAYTON, Iowa The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will hold a news conference at 4 p.m. Thursday in Dayton, Iowa, to provide additional information about the case of a missing Dayton teen.
"The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will provide additional information about evidence found in and around the various locations the suspect Michael Klunder and missing 15 year old Kathlynn Shepard visited," the news release states.
Search efforts continued Thursday in Webster, Boone, and Hamilton Counties.
Authorities asked Thursday morning for more volunteers to help search for Shepard.
Volunteers can go to the Dayton Rescue Building at 35 First Avenue SW or call the Webster County Emergency Manager's Office at 515-571-6483 -- leave message with your name, contact number and resources available.
Shepard has been missing since 4 p.m. Monday. She was abducted with a 12-year-old girl who escaped and got help.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Webster County Sheriff's Office at 515-573-1410.
12-Year-Old Who Escaped Speaks:
The 12-year-old girl, named Desi, who Michael Klunder is suspected of kidnapping is talking about the ordeal publicly for the first time.
In a statement to the Dayton Leader, Desi said Klunder pulled his truck over to talk to the girls and said they could earn some money mowing lawns.
Desi said Klunder then offered to drive the girls home, but ended up taking both to the hog confinement where he worked. Desi said that Klunder zip-tied her hands and took Kathlynn to another area on the grounds.
That's when she escaped. She told the Daily Leader, "He had a gun, but he left it. I took it and hid in the woods. I just kept running."
Desi's family said they are helping investigators in the search for Kathlynn.
The Dayton community came together Wednesday evening to show their support Kathlynn's family at a prayer vigil for her safe return.
Hundreds of people from Dayton and surrounding towns came to pray at the community service. Many of them know the Shepard family.
The service lasted less an hour.
The Shepard family released their first statement Wednesday.
The family wrote: "We would like to thank everybody who took the time from their busy lives to help search for Kathlynn. To see so much love in our community and the surrounding areas is amazing. Thank you for all of your prayers and we hope to have Kathlynn home soon.
"We know that members of the public and media want to talk to us. Please understand, the idea of doing an interview is too overwhelming right now. Until Kathlynn is found, we'll remain focused on our family and ask that any requests for information or comment be directed to the DCI."
Search crews continued to comb wooded areas along the Des Moines River Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities reported Wednesday morning that the girl's backpacks and a purse were found Tuesday along a road near Pilot Mound.
DCI Special Agent Bill Kietzman told KCCI's Laura Nichols that the backpacks and purse were found in the 400 block of Kale Road in Boone County, which is near the towns of Pilot Mound and Fraser -- and the Des Moines River valley.
A search team of law enforcement and K-9s located the young girls' backpacks late Tuesday, the DCI reported.
The location is about 14 miles southeast of Dayton and about 7 miles southeast of where authorities said the 12-year-old girl abducted with Shepard was able to escape and seek help.
Searchers are continuing to search the area on Kale Road and the nearby Des Moines River.
The DCI also released a new picture of Shepard on the school bus the day of the abduction showing her wearing a Chicago Cubs baseball cap and gray shirt with an American flag on the front.
They also released a more complete list of addresses where parts of the story happened including where the girls were abducted and where the 12-year-old girl was able to escape. Two of the locations are hog confinement operations that officials said Klunder worked out -- where the 12-year-old escaped and where Klunder was found dead.