Michael and Denise Shepard of Dayton have urged legislators to enhance penalties for those who kidnap children. They are the parents of Kathlynn Shepard, who was kidnapped and murdered May 20, 2013 after getting off a school bus. I support this legislation in the hope to help prevent similar crimes from occurring in the future.

Kathlynn’s parents urged lawmakers to increase penalties and oversight for sex offenders who attack children. The proposed legislation has survived the first funnel. The bill adds kidnapping of a person 16 or younger to the definition of 2nd degree kidnapping. This would make the crime a class “B” felony. The bill also makes a second count of 3rd degree kidnapping a class “B” felony.

The heart of the Shepard case, though, deals with the fact Michael Klunder, who was considered the suspect in the case, had been released early from prison after serving time in a different kidnapping case. Klunder was sentenced to 41 years in prison for an unrelated kidnapping case.

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