KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police, family and friends are urgently searching for a missing 21-year-old Kansas City woman who disappeared Thursday night after going to a party with her boyfriend and one of his friends.
A friend who was at the party Thursday said Runions left at about 9:30 p.m., with one of her boyfriend's friends, a man familiar to police named Kylr Yust. Kylr Yust, 28, once dated Kara Kopetsky, a Belton teen who has been missing since May 2007. Kopetsky was last seen leaving Belton High School on May 4, 2007 and has not been seen since. The Belton Police Department, as well as federal, state and local agencies continue to investigate her disappearance.
Runions' mom reported her missing Friday morning and Runions has not responded to texts from her mom. Police put out a description of Runions' car, which was found a short time later near Bannister and Blue River Road. It had been set on fire. Police searched the surrounding area for Jessica, but did not find her.
Kylr Yust has been charged in Jackson County with 'knowingly burning' in connection to Jessica Runions' case and car. He was arrested at his family's home in Edwards, Mo., in Benton County, about two hours from Kansas City. He has not faced additional charges related to her disappearance.
In 2011, Yust, then 22, was charged with two counts of animal abuse, including smashing a kitten against a bathroom floor. According to prosecutors, Yust allegedly smashed the head of a kitten against a bathroom floor on July 5, 2011, and then allegedly drowned two kittens in a bag in an area creek on July 20, 2011.
A week before the animal abuse charges, Yust was placed on two years probation after pleading guilty to beating and choking his 18-year-old pregnant girlfriend. According to police reports, Yust allegedly told the teen that he could dispose of body parts in a pig pen on a family ranch.
Kara Kopetsky disappeared in 2007. Yust has never been charged in her disappearance, but she and her mother, Rhonda Beckford, filed a restraining order against him shortly before she vanished. The order wasn’t officially granted until after she disappeared.
"Always a sweet girl, always cared a lot about folks, always wanted to give people the benefit of the doubt, do something nice, she liked relaxing, having fun, she was able to take someone who was high-strung and bring them down to earth," said Ryan Gaulding, a friend said of Jessica Runions.
Jessica Runions' family says Jessica wants to be a pastry chef and she is working toward that dream at Foxwood Springs Senior Living Center.
If you can help find either Jessica Runions or Kara Kopetsky, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.