New photo released to mark Kara Kopetsky's birthday - KCTV5

New photo released to mark Kara Kopetsky's birthday

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BELTON, MO (KCTV) -

An age-progression photo of Kara Kopetsky has been released to mark her 23rd birthday, which is Sunday.

The Belton Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released the picture Friday. The hope is the picture will refresh memories and prompt new information.

Kopetsky, then 17, was last seen leaving Belton High School the morning of May 4. She has not been seen since then.

Her disappearance is one of the most high-profile missing persons cases in the Kansas City area.

Questions have been raised about the Belton Police Department's handling of the case and whether they could have moved more aggressively after the initial report rather than treating it initially as a simple case of a runaway teen.

Police have focused on Kopetsky's then boyfriend, who has since pleaded guilty to choking and beating his then-pregnant girlfriend in a separate and unrelated case.

Kopetsky went missing one week after she filed for a protection order against Kylr Yust, then 18 years old. Yust allegedly claimed to have told his then girlfriend that he had killed ex-girlfriends out of sheer jealousy.

"He 'threatened to kill her ... if she left him.' He 'had a family with a ranch where there were pigs that would eat anything including bones ... no one would ever find her,'"according to court documents in the domestic violence case involving Yust's pregnant girlfriend.

No charges have been filed in connection with Kopetsky's disappearance.

"The Belton Police Department along with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continue to investigate Kara's disappearance, and receive tips regularly," according to a news release. "We also know that keeping this case in the public's mind is essential to developing leads and information that will lead us to her."

If you have any information, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS or Belton Police at 816-331-1500.

For previous coverage, click here. To read about Kopetsky's boyfriend, click here.

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