Unidentified set of remains discovered in April in Cass County positively identified as long-missing teen Kara Kopetsky

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CASS COUNTY, Mo. — Authorities have told the parents of missing Belton teenager Kara Kopetsky on Wednesday afternoon that their daughter’s remains were found in April around the same time that Raymore woman Jessica Runions’ were found.

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 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 Runions. Kara was 17 years old at the time of her disappearance; Jessica was 21 when she disappeared.

When Runions’ remains were found, her mother Rhonda Beckford said she believed the skull found in 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,” Beckford said. “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.'”

The “he” she is referring to is Kylr Yust, who is the ex-boyfriend of Kopetsky.

Runions disappeared in September 2016; she was last seen at a party Sept. 8, 2016 with her boyfriend and Yust.

Yust was questioned about their disappearances and while never charged in the disappearance of Kopetsky, he was charged with ‘knowingly burning’ Jessica Runions’ car, which was found set on fire near Bannister and Blue River Road. He pleaded not guilty and is currently in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center. His case has been sealed but his trial for the Class D ‘knowingly burning’ felony is scheduled for October 16, 2017.

According to Beckford, her daughter filed a restraining order against Yust shortly before she vanished in 2007. The order wasn’t officially granted until after she disappeared.

In 2011, four years after Kara disappeared, 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.

After Kopetsky’s disappearance, family hosted fundraisers and events throughout the years to keep her name in the public’s eye

FOX 4 is speaking with the family on Wednesday night, we’ll have updates during later newscasts and on fox4kc.com

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