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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Remains Found: May Be Kara Kopetsky

Above, Jessica Runions (left) and Kara Kopetsky.

Nearly ten years ago, I began to follow the kidnapping and murder case of Kelsey Smith in Kansas after seeing reports about her kidnapping on Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.

At about the same time, another high school girl, Kara Kopetsky, went missing. Her case turned out to be unrelated to Kelsey Smith's case. Smith's killer is now sitting in prison. Since then, I have been following the Kopetsky case. Now there may be a big break in the case.

On Monday, two skulls had been found near a quarry. One, it turns out, is from another missing girl, Jessica Runions. Both women had been involved with the same man, although nine years apart.

Fox 4 in Kansas City reported yesterday:
CASS COUNTY, Mo. —  Two mothers, each facing the fear and grief of a daughter gone missing, now await answers from the FBI and Cass County investigators after two human skulls were found near each other in a wooded area near E. 233rd and State Route Y, south of Belton. 
The first human skull was found Monday evening by a mushroom hunter. As investigators brought in their teams and tools and searched a five-acre area, they found another human skull on Tuesday. After that, they contacted the families of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, two young women missing from the Kansas City area. Kara has been missing since 2007; Jessica since Sept. 2016. Kara was 17-years-old at the time of her disappearance; Jessica was 21 when she disappeared.

Although Jessica and Kara likely never knew each other, and although Jessica is about five years younger than Kara, there is something else they have in common; a man named Kylr Yust, 28. Jessica was acquainted with Yust, who was Kara's former boyfriend. Yust was questioned about their disappearances and while never charged in the disappearance of Kara Kopetsky, he was charged with 'knowingly burning' Jessica Runions' car, which was found set on fire near Bannister and Blue River Road. He pleaded not guilty and is currently in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center. His case has been sealed but his trial for the Class D 'knowingly burning' felony is scheduled for October 16, 2017.
Just a few hours ago, Fox 4 reported that one of the sets of remains found was identified as Jessica Runions.
CASS COUNTY, Mo. -- Investigators say that one of two sets of human remains found in Cass County are missing woman Jessica Runions, who hasn't been seen since September. The Jackson County Medical Examiner made the identification, and her family has been notified. 
Police were previously investigating her case as a disappearance, and it's now been classified as a homicide. 
Two human skulls were found near each other in a wooded area around E. 233rd and State Route Y, south of Belton, earlier this week. The second set of remains hasn't been identified, though investigators think they may be Kara Kopetsky's, who has been missing since May of 2007.
Considering the similarities of the two cases and their ties to Kylr Yust, I would be very surprised if the second set of remains aren't Kara Kopetsky's. If enough teeth and other bones are found and how intact they are, positive identification could come relatively soon or up to a year.

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