Mushroom hunter describes ‘overwhelming,’ heartbreaking discovery of skull in Cass County woods

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CASS COUNTY, Mo. -- A mushroom hunter who found human remains in some Cass County woods on Monday described the disturbing discovery to FOX 4 on Friday.

Investigators say the skull the hunter found belongs to Jessica Runions, a Raymore woman who had been missing for seven months. Investigators returned on Friday to the site near East 233rd and Y Highway searching for new clues. Crime scene technicians and detectives combed through the woods for seven hours.

In the meantime, the mushroom hunter who found the first human remains still can't believe what he found.

“Just walking down the fence road there and looking for, on the ground, for mushrooms... on the other side of the fence was a skull," the man who wished to remain anonymous said. "It's overwhelming at times."

It's been four days since the 59-year-old, seasoned mushroom hunter made a heartbreaking find in the dense woods.

"Just keeps sinking in a little deeper all the time. I might have been there 15 minutes.”

On Monday afternoon, the retired heavy equipment operator said he was out in the woods on Y Highway on what he thought would be just another routine search for mushrooms.

"Over there 15, 20 yards on the side of the fence was a skull," the man described, who said he knew what it was in an instant.

It’s a skull investigators would later say belonged to 21-year-old Runions.

Now searchers are looking for evidence connected to Runions' homicide, as they also try to identify a second person, whose remains were found in the same area.

Many believe that person could be Kara Kopetsky -- missing now for nearly 10 years.

The mushroom hunter said the disturbing and emotional find was unbelievable. Now the man who has a daughter the same age as Kopetsky cannot stop thinking about Kara and Jessica’s parents.

“A sigh of relief that I know in my heart that I'd found one of the little girls. It's been a horrible nightmare for the parents,” he said.

"I'd like to just see the parents and put my arms around them and tell them my heart and prayers. Finally glad that maybe justice will be served."

The hunter says he hopes investigators will quickly identify the second person whose remains were found. Those search teams will return to the scene on Saturday morning.