Skulls found together in rural Missouri may belong to teen girl, young woman who vanished almost 10 years apart

Human remains found in rural Cass County, Missouri, may be connected to the decade-old disappearance of a Kansas City-area teen and a young woman who vanished in September — and the same man may be involved in both of their disappearances.

According to Fox 4 Kansas City, authorities have discovered a second set of remains in a remote area outside of Belton, the day after mushroom hunters came across a partial skeleton on Monday. Both sets of remains are human and are believed to include the skulls.

While authorities have not yet identified the remains, they confirmed to Fox 4 that they are in touch with the families of missing persons Kara Kopetsky, a 17-year-old who disappeared in 2007, and Jessica Runions, 21, who vanished in September 2016 after leaving a party in Kansas City. She was in the company of the same man Kopetsky filed a restraining order against just days before the teen went missing.

Kylr Yust, 28, is a person of interest in both missing persons cases. He had been in a volatile romantic relationship with Kopetsky in the months before her disappearance in May 2007.  Kara reportedly tried to end the on-again, off-again relationship in the spring of that year, and filed an order of protection against Yust after he allegedly forced her into a car and held her against her will. She was last seen walking out of her school on May 4.

According to the Kansas City Star, Jessica Runion was last seen leaving a friend’s party in Kansas City with Yust on September 8. The two were not believed to have been involved romantically and Runion’s boyfriend was with her at the same party.

Two days later, Runion’s unoccupied SUV was found burned in Kansas City. Yust was arrested on charges of “knowingly burning” the vehicle. He remains in custody on those charges.

Yust has an extensive criminal history, and was charged on multiple occasions with murdering kittens. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to beating and choking his pregnant ex-girlfriend, who was 18 at the time, until she lost consciousness.

The Cass County Sheriff’s office told the Kansas City Star that it might be some time before the remains are identified, and have not yet been able to tell reporters the age, race, or gender of the bodies found.