Update: Second Set of Human Remains Found in Missouri Has Been Identified as Kara Kopetsky

April 05, 2017
By: Catherine Townsend
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Jessica Runions (left) and Kara Kopetsky (right)

Photo by: U.S. News (screenshot)

U.S. News (screenshot)

Jessica Runions (left) and Kara Kopetsky (right)

UPDATE (AUGUST 17, 2017):

A decade after her disappearance, the remains of Kara Kopetsky (above, right) have finally been identified. The bones were found by a mushroom hunter in the spring, located near another set of remains that were identified as missing woman Jessica Runions (above, left).

The missing girls, despite the several year gap between their disappearances, have both been linked to Kylr Yust, a man with a criminal history, who was charged with burning Runions’ car. In April 2007, not long before she went missing, Kopetsky filed an order of protection against Yust.

Kopetsky’s mother, Rhonda Beckford, said, “We’ve gotten Kara identified and now we can have a funeral and put her to rest, the way it always should have been, and move toward prosecution.”

At the moment, Yust has not been charged in the disappearances or deaths of either Runions or Kopetsky. The investigation continues.

UPDATE (APRIL 6, 2017):

One of the two sets of human remains found in rural western Missouri has been identified as those of 21-year-old Jessica Runions (above, left) who disappeared in September, police said Wednesday.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says a medical examiner identified the remains as Runions, of Raymore, Missouri, who was last seen after leaving a gathering in south Kansas City on September 8. Runions left the event with 27-year-old Kylr Yust, who was later charged with burning Runions’ vehicle.

The case has been officially classified as a homicide.

Read more: CBS News

ORIGINAL STORY:

CASS COUNTY, MO — A mushroom hunter found a human skull in a quarry in rural Missouri, and although the remains have not yet been identified, authorities have asked the families of two local missing women to meet with investigators. Following that discovery, searchers found a second skull near Belton in Cass County.

Authorities used cadaver dogs to search a six-mile area near East 233rd Street and Missouri Y, according to Cass County Sheriff’s Captain Kevin Tieman.

Rhonda Beckford held hands with Jamie Runions — the mother of Jessica Runions, who disappeared in early September — at a press conference. Beckford’s daughter, Kara Kopetsky, was last seen at Belton High School in May 2007 when she was 17.

But the moms, who have become close friends, say that although the missing girls didn’t know each other — and disappeared nine years apart — the fact that their daughters could be together brings them some comfort.

If it’s her, I’m glad she was with Kara,” Jamie Runions said Tuesday. “My biggest fear was that she was alone. I’m glad they were together.”

Jessica Runions was last seen on September 8 leaving a gathering of friends in south Kansas City. Runions left the gathering with Kylr Yust, 28, who was a friend of her boyfriend. Runions’ burned-out vehicle was found a few days later, and Yust was arrested for the car fire. Yurst also has a checkered past of various other arrests, and has served some time in prison.

Yust was questioned by police, but not charged in the disappearance of Runions. In a chilling parallel, Kara Kopetsky had been dating Yurst for several months before she vanished. In the days before her disappearance, she had gotten an order of protection against him.

Both womens’ family members say they have been searching for them constantly since the day they disappeared. Officials say that they do not yet know how long it will take to identify the remains.

If you are in search of a missing person, make sure to enter their information into the database of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.