KC police ID 2nd body found by missing Jessica Runions' relative - KCTV5

KC police ID 2nd body found by missing Jessica Runions' relatives in late January

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Kansas City police say a body found by a family searching for a missing Missouri woman was that of a 19-year-old Merriam man. (KCTV5) Kansas City police say a body found by a family searching for a missing Missouri woman was that of a 19-year-old Merriam man. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -

A second of two bodies found in late January while searchers were looking for a missing Raymore woman in the south Kansas City woods has been identified as a 19-year-old Merriam man, police said Friday.

Family members of Dante Jamal Jefferson, of Merriam, reported him missing in January and told police they hadn't seen him since Dec. 5. Kansas City police are investigating his death as a homicide, The Kansas City Star reported.

Friends and relatives of Jessica Runions, of Raymore, discovered Jefferson's body Jan. 29 while searching for her.

Investigators said Jefferson was last seen getting into a gray Chrysler in central Kansas City. At the time, he was living with his mother and it was unusual for Jefferson not to contact his mother, who filed the missing persons report, said Merriam Detective Laura Naegele.

"We kind of speculated that something wasn't right or something had gone wrong," Naegele said. "We were hoping that we would hear something, but unfortunately it was something negative that we heard in the end."

Runions' friends and relatives searched rural areas for her nearly every week since she disappeared Sept. 8.

The week before they found Jefferson's body, they discovered another set of remains nearby. Those remains were later identified as 21-year-old Brandon Herring, of Raytown, who was reported missing in November. His death is also being investigated as a homicide.

This week, two skulls and remains were found in rural Cass County and one of the sets of remains was identified as Runions, police said. The second set of remains has not been identified.

The family of Kara Kopetsky is awaiting results to determine if the second set of remains is hers.

Kylr Yust, 27, has been questioned about the 2007 disappearance of Kopetsky, and has been charged with burning Runions' car, which was discovered after she disappeared. Runions was last seen leaving a gathering of friends with Yust, and Kopetsky had filed a protection order against him shortly before she disappeared. Yust has not been charged in either woman's disappearance.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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