As of May 30, 2013 the search for Kathlynn Shepard has been halted due to the severe weather in Iowa. However, it should be reported that throughout the week there have been searches around various hog lots in the area. This indicates that earlier speculation about the missing teen being fed to hogs could hold some weight. Unfortunately the latest reports indicate that no evidence has been located yet in these hog lot searches. So does this mean she wasn’t fed to hogs as earlier speculated? At this point there is truly no way to guess one way or the other, because it seems like she completely vanished off the face of the earth.
As the above source mentions, the rainy weather is bothersome not only because it slows down the ground searches, but because it could potentially wash away evidence. If Kathlynn Shepard was fed to hogs or if her body was gotten to by hogs by some other event, their excrement could very easily be washed away by the heavy rain and melting hail. This could also possibly hinder the ability for cadaver dogs to make positive and definitive hits on scent for human decomposition. It should also be noted that many cadaver dogs are trained using pig feces — due to sharing signature compounds with human decomposition. This could potentially propose errors in using the dogs to search hog lots. In other words, they could either smell human decomposition all over the place creating false-positives, or the dogs might not be alerted to anything at all — unless the human compounds they do happen to locate are in the form of raw blood or undigested remains.
Hogs can pretty much digest anything that isn’t very fibrous. That means they can digest any meat and bone material, but it’s unlikely that they can digest hair and teeth. Hair is very fibrous, and teeth are much harder than bone and take a very long time to break down. So if hogs did get to the missing teen, the search for remains would only involve hair and teeth at this point — and that’s only if this scenario actually occurred. Judging by recent searches it seems that officials are not taking that theory lightly at all.
Detectives are also not taking lightly the possibility that Michael Klunder kidnapped and murdered missing Iowa cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins. In fact, Evansdale Police Chief Kent Smock says that he plans on finding out in the next week whether or not the deceased sex offender was connected to last year’s tragic case. If it turns out that there are connections to these two cases, then it is very likely that Kathlynn Shepard will be found in a wooded area in the same manner as the two missing Evansdale/Waterloo girls. However, the kidnapping of Kathlynn Shepard and the other young girl appears to be a special case. It doesn’t seem that Michael Klunder would have enough time to make a proper disposal due to the younger of the two captives escaping and getting safely away — ruining his plans. There are a lot of different things to consider in this case, as well as the case of the two slain cousins.