Iowa girl, 12, talks about escaping from sex predator, friend's alleged killer
Dezy Hughes talks about her escapePublished 1:27 AM HST Jun 18, 2013Video Transcript
Good Evening everyone - Kevin is off tonight. Dezi Hughes will never forget the day she was able to get away from Michael Klunder. The same man who kidnapped and killed her friend. Tonight, Dezi talks with KCCI's Emily Price about what happened that day. Just went to walk home and asked us if we wanted to mow lawns to make money and we said we had to go ask our parents - he told us he would give us a ride - and then told us we could call - and we went from there. It was May 20th - Dezi and her friend Kathlynn Shepard were trapped inside this red pick up truck driven by registered sex offender Michael Klunder. He was taking them to a hog confinement where he worked. I just kept thinking it wasn't right. Klunder got Kathlynn out of his truck and Dezi...just 12 years old...took a chance and made her escape. I had to run through a lot of woods and cross fields - I couldn't see any buildings. She made it to the nearest farmhouse... but wasn't certain she was safe. I actually was kind of afraid because I thought we were near his house - so I thought it was going to be his relatives or something - so I really didn't know what to do - but I had to take a chance and find out. The gutsy move paid off - and a stranger took her in. I actually thought when she called me that I misunderstood her. I thought I was over-reacting for no reason - when I got there I realized she was serious. And that was about when it hit me - when I saw her when I first got there. Emily - how often you think about that? Dezi - everyday. It's on my mind. Her good friend has been laid to rest. She wears a K around her neck - and today stood alone, under a towering Evergreen in Dayton. It's all covered in purple - the tree, a giant ribbon, flowers and balloons - Kathlynn's favorite color. People here mourn for Kathlynn and know that Dezi's mere existence - is a miracle. I tell her everyday I am so glad she is here. She is sick of hearing it. And I don't care. I told her today I am glad she is here. Pretty cool - you get a lot of people now that don't even know you and you don't remember who just come up and hugging you and shake your hand - it's pretty cool. Emily - everyone considers you a hero. Dezi: I really hate it - being called a hero - being called brave - I hate it - I can't stand it. Emily - why don't you feel like you are? Dezi - I am not brave - I ran - that is cowardly - and I really don't feel like a hero because I couldn't save her. She did the best she could do. We would still be looking for them I believe. And we wouldn't know who, what, when why or how. Thoughts of that day fill nearly every moment of her day and haunt her at night. I don't sleep until like 3 in the morning - I can't sleep and when I do sleep it's pretty crappy. Dezi and her family are already seeking counseling...but know that life will never be the same. Emily: it must be so hard to try to return to a normal life and actually let her out of your sight for awhile. Jeanette: so far that hasn't happened. She has to be with a boy - because obviously going somewhere with a girl didn't work. You try to forget but you can't. it's going to scar you for life - what can you do about it. Dezi and her family wanted to do this interview with us in order to thank all the people that have helped them...everyone in Dayton, the Wrangler Saddle Club that raised more than 5 thousand dollars for them this weekend, the Dayton Leader, and John Porter. They say their support has been tremendous and they're very grateful. How did Dezi find the courage to leave? She has a lot of brothers - and her mom says that has made her tough as nails.