Legislature works to toughen penalties for kidnappers, predators - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Legislature works to toughen penalties for kidnappers, predators

WATERLOO (KWWL) - Iowa could soon be a tough place for sexual predators and kidnappers to operate, as lawmakers want to up the penalties for taking and hurting children.

Three bills are quickly moving through the Iowa Legislature.

The Senate passed two bills. One requires a 25-year prison sentence for kidnapping a child. The second bill to clear the Senate requires a child sexual predator to be placed indefinitely in detention for treatment.

A similar bill was passed in the Iowa House, with the main difference between the Senate and House bills being the elimination of the possibility for early release of a sexual predator.

These new laws come after several high profile abductions and murders in Iowa.

Cousins Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were taken in Evansdale in 2012, and found dead months later. In 2013, Kathlyn Sheppard was abducted and murdered by Michael Klunder.

If these laws would have been in place back in 2011, Klunder would likely still be in prison.

The three bills passed overwhelmingly in both legislative chambers. They will continue to be discussed and possibly combined into one bill over the next few weeks.
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