Kathlynn Shepard, the 15-year-old victim of an Iowa school bus stop abduction on May 20, was confirmed dead on Sunday afternoon by Iowa Chief State Medical Examiner Dr. Julia Goodin.
Kathlynn Shepard's body was found in a river on Friday night about 11 miles from the site where Shepard was kidnapped, still wearing the clothes she had on the day of the abduction. The remains have now been conclusively identified by the coroner's office.
As The Inquisitr reported earlier, Shepard and a 12-year-old unnamed friend were apparently coaxed into accepting a ride from the bus stop in a pickup truck by registered sex offender Michael James Klunder.
He drove around with the girls for several hours before the younger girl managed to escape, triggering a manhunt for the 42-year-old registered sex offender.
By the time the authorities found him on the evening of May 20, he had already committed suicide by hanging himself, and there was no sign of Kathlynn Shepard or her body.
Dr. Goodin said that the autopsy of the body found under the bridge near Boone, Iowa proved that Kathlynn Shepard's death was a homicide. There was evidence of what was described as "multiple sharp and blunt force injuries."
Klunder had previously served 20 years and was then released in 2011 for two separate 1991 kidnappings. In those cases, both children were eventually found alive.
Police will continue to search for evidence to determine whether or not he was also responsible for the 2012 kidnapping and murder of two young cousins whose bodies were found in a wooded area about 90 miles from where he kidnapped Shepard and her friend.
Heather and Drew Collins, whose 8-year-old daughter Elizabeth was one of the murdered cousins, said that they hope to support the parents and perhaps even attend the funeral of Kathlynn Shepard.
[Photo missing girl search poster/photo Michael Klunder from Iowa Sex Offender Registry]