Monday, April 22, 2019

The Murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions

Picture left: Kara Kopetsky, age 17 (2007). Picture right: Jessica Runions, age 21 (2016)

Kara Kopetsky (17) disappeared on May 4th, 2007, in Belton, Missouri. On that day, classmates say Kara unexpectedly left school early. She was never seen or heard from again after that. About a week before her disappearance, Kara filed a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Kylr Yust. The order claims that Kylr, who was 18 years old at the time, had kidnapped Kara and refused to let her leave his car for a period of time. Kara disappeared a week after this alleged incident. Due to this, suspicions fell on Kylr very early on into Kara’s disappearance. However, police were unable to find any concrete evidence that Kylr was involved in her May 4th disappearance.

Kylr Yust
Nine years passed without finding Kara or any clues to her whereabouts. Kylr was in and out of jail during these 9 years on various unrelated charges, including charges for domestic violence and animal abuse.  After being recently released from prison, on September 8th, 2016, Kylr went to a party in Grandview, Missouri. Multiple partygoers witnessed Kylr leaving the party with 21 year-old Jessica Runions. Jessica, however, never made it home after leaving that party and was reported missing on the evening of September 9th. At 2am the following morning, Jessica’s car was found burning on 95th and Blue River Road. Kylr was later arrested and charged for knowingly burning a vehicle.
Kylr following his 2016 arrest

Meanwhile, Jessica remained missing and Kylr was not giving up any information on her whereabouts. Many people had already long suspected that Kylr had killed Kara back in 2007, and now it was believed that Kylr had killed Jessica as well. Still, without the girls’ remains or any other DNA evidence, police were unable to charge him with murder.

That finally changed on April 3rd, 2017, when a mushroom hunter found a set of remains in a rural area of Cass County, Missouri. When authorities arrived and conducted a more thorough search of the area, they found a second set of remains. Those remains appeared to have been there for much longer than the first set of remains that were found. It only took a few days to confirm that the first set of remains belonged to Jessica. While everyone else already knew the second set belonged to Kara, that was not officially confirmed until August 17th, 2017. 

Kylr Yust was charged with killing both Kara and Jessica on October 6th, 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to both murders. His trial is expected to begin in October 2019.

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Kara's case was featured on season 2 of ID's 'Disappeared'--available here on Amazon.

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