In September 2016, Jessica Runion disappeared.Kansas City Police Department
As previously reported, the 21-year-old was last seen leaving a party in Kansas City. Her car was found two days later in a nearby wooded area. It had been burned out.
The last man she was seen with, 27-year-old Kylr Yust, was arrested. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of knowingly burning a car.Benton County Sheriff’s Office
Disturbingly, Yust was also a person of interest in the disappearance another young woman, Kara Kopetsky. As ABC News reports, Kopetsky was Yust’s ex-girlfriend and the 17-year-old disappeared in May 2004 after leaving school.Screenshot/KCTV
Disappearing nine years apart from the same area, the mothers of the missing girls — Kara’s mom, Rhona Beckford, and Jessica’s mother, Jamie Runions — joined together in solidarity to find their daughters.
The search for Jessica Runions came to sad end in April of this year.
As reported by ABC News, a mushroom hunter discovered a set of human remains, later identified as Jessica’s, in a rural area south of Kansas City. Her death was being investigated as a homicide.
In an interview with ABC News following the discovery, Jamie Runions said:
“My heart still hurts for [Kara’s family]. I got answers for Jessica, but we don’t have them for Kara. [They] deserve to know. It’s almost been 10 years.”
Police on the scene made another grisly discovery the following day in the same location — a second set of human remains. According to ABC News there was speculation at the time that they could belong to the other missing teen — Kara — but authorities told ABC News that it could take up a year to confirm the results.
Now, it’s being reported that the FBI has confirmed the second set of remains are Kara’s.Screenshot/KCTV
In an interview with KCTV, Rhonda Beckford said that her family has always believed the second set of remains police found in April belonged to her daughter:
“We always felt when they found one, they would find both,” Beckford said, referring to her daughter and Runions. “So of course we felt from the very beginning that the other set of remains were Kara.”
Her father told reporters:
“It’s a glorious day, Kara’s officially back home,” her father Jim Beckford told the station Wednesday. “She will be able to be honored and remembered, even though she’s not here with us physically, but she’ll be loved forever.”
According to reports, Kopetsky filed for a protection order against Yust in 2007 alleging he “kidnapped and restrained her, choked her and threatened to cut her throat” during their relationship. Kopetsky went missing six days before she was scheduled to appear in court at a hearing for the order.
Kopetsky’s family has maintained that Yust is responsible for their daughter’s disappearance.
In 2013, Yust was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for felony drug trafficking. He has not been charged in either disappearance.