The last time anyone had seen Jessica Runions was the night of September 8, 2015. While attending a party with her boyfriend, the couple ran into an old acquaintance. Kylr Yust had been a childhood friend of Jessica’s boyfriend. When Jessica had left the party with Yust that evening, it is unclear if she had any knowledge of Yust’s violent past and his possible connection to another missing young woman nine years prior to Jessica’s disappearance.
17-year-old Kara Kopetsky of Belton, Missouri was last seen leaving for school on the morning of May 4, 2007. Since that day her family has been searching for any clues that may lead them to their missing daughter. During the time of Kopetsky’s disappearance, she had been in a relationship with Yust.
Though there is no evidence to support that Yust had anything to do with the disappearance of Kara Kopestsky, Yust has had a history of violence. According to a report by KSHB Kansas City, Yust was charged in 2011 with abuse after strangling his girlfriend. Additionally, Yust had been charged with theft after stealing from a tattoo shop and was reported to have stomped on a kitten before throwing it into a river.
Two days after Jessica Runions’ mysterious disappearance, her car was found burning in South Kansas City. Police searched the surrounding area just off of Blue River Road and Bannister but failed to turn up any evidence or any clues indicating Runions’ whereabouts.
On September 11, police were able to obtain a warrant for Yust. Among the items collected were 9mm bullets, clothing, and forensic evidence from Yust himself. Yust had also been arrested and charged with burning Jessica’s vehicle. He is being held on a $50,000 cash only bond.
Though Yust has been charged with burning Jessica’s vehicle, he has not indicated whether or not he knew any information on the whereabouts of either Kara Kopetsky or Jessica Runions. The families of both Kara and Jessica continue to search for the missing young women.
Family and friends of Jessica Runions have met up every weekend since she had been reported missing to search remote areas of Kansas City. While their search efforts failed to lead them to Jessica, they were able to find the remains of two other people.
One of those bodies were that of Brandon Herring. Herring had disappeared from the Kansas City suburb of Raytown around Thanksgiving of 2016. Though Brandon’s family had reported him missing, they became frustrated with the progress of Raytown police and began their own investigation, which included speaking with media outlets such as Dateline. During their search, they found shell casings and evidence of a possible shootout but were unsure of Herring’s whereabouts until the search party assembled to find Jessica Runions uncovered his remains inside of a creek bed near East 67th Terrace and Lewis Avenue.
A week after discovering the body of Brandon Herring, the search party came across a second body. Approximately eight feet off the side of an embankment near South Brighton Avenue was the body of a white male. The man has not been identified, but police are now launching a homicide investigation into the man’s death.
Though their search has failed to turn up the body of Jessica Runions or any clues into her whereabouts if she is still alive, friends and loved ones believe that they are on the right track and will have answers soon.
Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Kara Kopetsky or Jessica Runions can submit tips at 816-474-TIPS (8477).