BELTON, Mo. — Kara Kopetsky’s family said that the hardest part of their daughter’s disappearance ended on Wednesday: The neverending wait to know where the missing Belton teen was, was over, investigators confirmed her remains were one set of two found in rural Cass County in April.
Speaking to reporters assembled in front of their home, mom Rhonda Beckford and stepdad Jim Beckford expressed relief at a resolution.
“This is what we wanted from the beginning was to find Kara, and for her to rest and have a place to visit. We got her back,” Rhonda Beckford said.
Kopestsky disappeared on May 4, 2007, she was last seen leaving Belton High School.
A human skull was found in rural Cass County on April 3 earlier this year by a mushroom hunter. As investigators brought in their teams and tools and searched a five-acre area, they found another human skull on April 4. After that, they contacted the families of Kopetsky and missing Raymore woman Jessica Runions. Kara was 17 years old at the time of her disappearance; Jessica was 21 when she disappeared.
“Kara was 17 when we lost her, and she was robbed of her life, and she deserves justice, it’s up to us to make sure that she gets that justice,” Rhonda Beckford said.
As she touched on getting justice for her daughter, Rhonda Beckford was alluding to Kylr Yust, who she said she’d rather not speak about on Wednesday, leaving his fate in the hands of Jackson and Cass County prosecutors.
In Jackson County, he is accused of burning Runions’ car, which was found set on fire near Bannister and Blue River Road. His next court date for that case in in October. Yust was questioned about Kopetsky’s disappearance but never charged. He was her ex-boyfriend whom Kopetsky had filed a restraining order against.
When Runions’ remains were found and confirmed to be hers, Rhonda Beckford said she believed the other skull found in rural Cass County was her daughter’s.
“Everybody said that when Jessica went missing, wherever he put Jessica is where he put Kara because after almost 10 years, Kara hadn’t been found,” she said in April. “So, you know, all of her search group, they all said, ‘you know, when you find one, you’ll find the other. They’ll both be there.'”
On Wednesday, Jim Beckford echoed Rhonda’s sentiments, relieved that they had finally found their daughter.
“The heaviness has been lifted, there’s a lightness in the air. It’s a glorious day, Kara is officially back home. She’ll be able to honored, be remembered, even though she’s not here with us physically, she’ll be with us forever.”
After Kopetsky’s disappearance, family hosted fundraisers and events throughout the years to keep her name in the public’s eye, and Rhonda Beckford said she would suggest any other family with a missing loved one do the same until they reach their resolution.
“Don’t ever give up, keep pushing on, keep trying to keep your missing loved one in the public eye,” she said.
FOX 4 will have continuing coverage about Wednesday’s developments during FOX 4 News at 9 and 10.