March 18, 2019

Trooper named Missouri State Employee of the Month for relentless investigation after 2 young children discovered along Mid-Missouri highway

A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper has been named Missouri State Employee of the Month for March 2019 because of her relentless investigation after the discovery of two young girls walking along a highway in October 2018. Trooper Ashley Klempke’s investigation led to criminal charges against both parents, and the children being placed in protective custody.

Klempke, a road trooper with the Patrol’s Troop F in central Missouri, was eligible for the statewide honor because of her selection as Department of Public Safety Employee of the Month for February 2019. 

In the early morning hours of October 2018, Klempke responded to a report of two young girls walking along a highway in Cole County. The girls were dressed only in pajamas and had no shoes. While other agencies were focused on returning the children to their parents and hesitant to investigate their allegations of long-term abuse, Klempke insisted on conducting a thorough investigation, including medical evaluations.

The medical evaluations supported the girls’ claims of severe abuse, as did forensic interviews, and a search warrant executed at their residence. As a result of Klempke’s effort, a total of six children were placed in protective custody and both parents were criminally charged.

Klempke carried out a very thorough investigation, including 16 interviews and the execution of multiple search warrants.

“From the very start, Trooper Klempke approached this not just as two children who had wandered away from home, but as a matter that needed to be fully investigated,” Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten said. “Trooper Klempke handled this case with perseverance, dedication and compassion, and her efforts made a difference.” 

Klempke was appointed to the Missouri State Highway Patrol on July 1, 2011, as a member of the 94th Recruit Class. She currently serves the citizens of Troop F, Zone 2, Cole County. She is a native of Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Patrol, she worked as a corrections officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections. Trooper Klempke and her husband, Brandon, have five children.

Congratulations to Trooper Klempke for her outstanding work and the example she’s set for her co-workers throughout Missouri state government! 


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