Friend of missing Raymore woman holding onto hope

RAYMORE, Mo. -- Friends and family of Jessica Runions, 21, are trying to maintain faith and hope that she will return to them today. They, along with police are asking anyone with information about her disappearance to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 (TIPS). You can remain anonymous.

Runions 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.

"I always thought she was a little too trusting, but she's one of those people. She's always seen the good in others, and it's worked out for a lot of us, so it's unfortunate that she's in the situation that she is now," said Jessica's friend, Ryan Gaulding.

Jessica Runions

Jessica Runions

Runions' mom reported her missing Friday morning and Runions has not responded to texts and calls 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.

"If she's out there, she'll come home to us," said Gaulding. "That's who she is. She loves being with us, and everybody else, I would just say, 'Keep the faith.'"

"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 Gaulding.

Jessica Runions' family says Jessica wants to be a pastry chef and she is working toward that dream at Foxwood Springs Senior Living Center.

"We are saddened to hear about the disappearance of our associate, Jessica Runions. Our hope is that she is found safe. We are focused on supporting the family, friends and associates of Jessica and intend to cooperate in any way needed with the authorities," said Heather Hunter, senior public relations specialist at Brookdale Senior Living Solutions, the company that owns Foxwood.

Again, if you can help Jessica Runions' family and police find her, please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477.