(Des Moines) You may recall two young girls were kidnapped by a convicted sex offender in small town Iowa last year. The 12-year-old managed to escape, but the 15-year-old’s body was eventually found in a river.
Michael Klunder killed himself before he could be captured. This morning, the girl who escaped, now 13-year-old Dezi Hughes, challenged lawmakers to imagine being the parents of a kidnapping victim like herself.
“Can you see the fear, the pain, and the hurt in their eyes? Can you see all the tears rolling down their cheeks? You want to help, but you know there is nothing you can do to help them because you know no matter hard you try you can never get rid of what they have seen, everything that they heard,” said Hughes.
Hughes is lobbying lawmakers to pass a bill making it harder for sex offenders like Klunder to be released early.
The mother of 15-year-old Kathlynn Shepard, who was killed, also spoke.
“There is no words that I can say that can make you understand, but the one thing that I’ve had to do that was not something I would want any parent to do is have to read the autopsy report on your child,” said Denise Shepard.
Denise Shepard revealed today that Klunder was apparently searching for victims for days, if not weeks, before he came upon Kathlynn and Dezi. She says her youngest daughter told her that Klunder had approached her as well and blames herself for her sister’s death.
Iowa Radio Network