Homicide detectives probe death after human remains identified a - KCTV5

Homicide detectives probe death after human remains identified as Jessica Runions

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Who killed Jessica Runions? That is the question people will be asking as the investigation continues. (KCTV5) Who killed Jessica Runions? That is the question people will be asking as the investigation continues. (KCTV5)
Nearly 100 people will continue to search the wooded area near E 233rd Street and State Route Y where the remains were found. (KCTV5) Nearly 100 people will continue to search the wooded area near E 233rd Street and State Route Y where the remains were found. (KCTV5)
CASS COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -

Who killed Jessica Runions? That is the question people will be asking as the investigation continues.

Her death has been ruled a homicide after her remains were identified late Wednesday night. Her remains are one of the two sets of bones found in Cass County.

Nearly 100 people will continue to search the wooded area near E 233rd Street and State Route Y where the remains were found.

A 10-15 acre area has been blocked off for the search but authorities do not believe they will need to search the entire area. 

Officials say the primary mission for Thursday is to gather and collect as much evidence as possible.

Teams will move through that area once for a preliminary search, removing undergrowth and debris, before a second search, focusing on areas of interest. 

The search is moving slowly due to the heavy amounts of vegetation in the area.

"When you're dealing with crawling around on your hands and knees, it's something we want to take very slowly and be very cautious, we don’t want anyone to get hurt out here," Cass County Sheriff's Office Captain Kevin Tieman said. "But it is, it's going to take a long time, we want to be very thorough so we are going to make sure what we cover everything we can.”

All evidence and remains will be sent to the Jackson County Medical Examiner.

Medical experts are working to determine the identify the second set of bones.

Kara Kopetsky’s family was called by Belton police on Tuesday after the second set of bones was found. Kopetsky went missing nearly 10 years ago.

While the disappearances of both Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions are nearly ten years apart, but they both have connections to one man, Kylr Yust.

Authorities say Yust had been seen with Kopetsky several times in the months leading up to her disappearance.  He was also the last person to be seen with Jessica Runions, as the two of them left a party together.

Yust has not been formally charged in the disappearance of either woman but both families believe he played a part.

“In my opinion, he's going away and he's never going to hurt anyone ever again, Kopetsky’s mother Rhonda Beckford said. “That’s all we've ever wanted, we knew as long as he was on the streets, he was just going to hurt somebody else.”

Investigators told Beckford that it could take weeks, months or even a full year before the second set of bones is positively identified.

Runions had been missing since September of 2016 while Kopetsky has been missing since May of 2007.

The search in Cass County resumed about 8 a.m. Thursday.

Police academy classes from around the metro joined the search as well as Kansas City Police Department, the Belton Police Department, the Raymore Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

They plan to make a grid and then perform shoulder-to-shoulder searches.

State Route YY has been closed and will remain closed throughout the day.

Officials say they may not finish the search on Thursday. If not, they plan to continue the search on Friday.

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