Cass County Sheriff's Office: More evidence found, search area n - KCTV5

Cass County Sheriff's Office: More evidence found, search area narrowed

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A mushroom hunter found those remains Monday near Belton. Shortly after that, police were in contact with the families of both Jessica Runions, left, and Kara Kopetsky. (File) A mushroom hunter found those remains Monday near Belton. Shortly after that, police were in contact with the families of both Jessica Runions, left, and Kara Kopetsky. (File)
Runions left the gathering with 27-year-old Kylr Yust, who was later charged with burning Runions' vehicle. A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. (KCPD) Runions left the gathering with 27-year-old Kylr Yust, who was later charged with burning Runions' vehicle. A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. (KCPD)
CASS COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -

The search for clues continues in Cass County, two days after investigators determined that human remains found in that area belong to a 21-year-old missing woman who disappeared in September.

Cass County Sheriff's Captain Kevin Tieman says they have narrowed the search to two acres.

More evidence was discovered during Thursday's search. Officials would not say whether the evidence was human remains or not. 

Tieman says about 110 investigators, including three police academies, were on scene Thursday. 

"For tomorrow, we will be returning tomorrow," Tieman said. "We're going to scale down the amount of personnel to specialized crime scene technicians and investigators that deal with human remains such as what we're dealing with today."

Friday's search began at 8 a.m. Officials say the search would be more thorough and may include digging into the top layer of soil.

Tieman wouldn't rule out investigators returning this weekend to the scene where two sets of remains were found.

A mushroom hunter found those remains Monday near Belton. Shortly after that, police were in contact with the families of both Runions and Kara Kopetsky. Belton is about 20 miles south of Kansas City.

The original search scene was about 15 acres, Tieman said. 

Law enforcement has been out searching the area where the remains were found since 8 a.m. Thursday. The FBI, Kansas City, Belton and Raymore police and Missouri State Highway Patrol all came out to assist.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office says a medical examiner identified the remains as Jessica Runions, of Raymore, who was last seen on Sept. 8 leaving a gathering in south Kansas City. Her burned vehicle was found two days later. Runions left the gathering with 27-year-old Kylr Yust, who was later charged with burning Runions' vehicle. A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

"Yesterday, was the hardest of my entire life. I had to tell my 14-year-old that her best friend and sister is not here any longer," Jessica Runions' mother Jamie said. 

The remains of a second person found in the same area have not been identified.

It could take up to a year to know if the second set of remains are those of Kara Kopetsky. Both her mother and Runions' mother are hoping that answers come sooner. 

After the remains were discovered, authorities notified the family of Runions and Kara Kopetsky, who was last seen at Belton High School in May 2007 when she was 17.

Yust also has been questioned in Kopetsky's disappearance. Court records indicated Kopetsky filed for a protection order against Yust in April 2007. A hearing was scheduled for May 10, 2007 but Kopetsky went missing six days before the hearing.

Yust has not been charged in the disappearance of either Runions or Kopetsky.

Runions' family has searched rural areas nearly every weekend since she went missing. In January, they found the remains of two men on consecutive weekends.

While they used dogs the first day, that was primarily to help with narrowing down the area they needed to search. There were at least 100 people out helping, but even with that, there was a lot to get accomplished.

Anything more remains that are found will be sent over to the Jackson County Medical Examiner.

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