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One year to the date she was last seen, Jessica Runions’ father recalls fond memories, her cheerful spirit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It has been one year since 21-year-old Jessica Runions disappeared after leaving a party with 27-year-old Kylr Yust. September 8, 2016 was the last time Jessica was seen alive.

"Not having Jessica here has been really, really tough," said John Runions, Jessica's father, who spent most of the day at work, keeping busy to get through the day.

"This past year has been like a blur," said Runions. "Waiting for the next hill on the roller coaster, that's the best way I can describe it."

It is a roller coaster ride that John Runions wants to get off of, but he can not escape. He is stuck in the reality that his little girl is gone and never coming home.

Runions remembers father-daughter moments with Jessica, whom he describes as a wonderful, bright, cheerful woman. Memories of being at the lake together, on Runions' boat, listening to music and dancing.

"We did a lot of silly stuff together," Runions recalled. "Just really spontaneous kind of off the wall things, you know?"

Cooking together was one of Runions' favorite father-daughter activities, which would eventually lead to Jessica's career as a pastry chef.

"She was really good at making and decorating cakes," Runions gushed about his daughter. "You do that and you sign your name to it and people look at it and say 'wow, that is beautiful.' And that's who she was, was beautiful."

All memories which help Runions get through the hard times, of which there have been many.

The painful year began when Jessica disappeared after leaving a party with Yust. Her burned-out car was found abandoned in South Kansas City two days later, followed by seven months of exhaustive searching for her.

In April, her body was found by a mushroom hunter near a rock quarry in rural cass county, next to the remains of kara kopetsky.

It was a devastating discovery for Runions, "Hold your kids, love them, be there for them, watch out for them. Jessica was taken from us in her prime. It should have never, ever happened."

Yust has been charged with burning Runions' car, but he has not yet been charged in her death, or in Kara Kopetsky's.