Police find remains of Missouri woman 7 months after her disappearance

One of two sets of human bones found in a rural wooded area of Cass County, Missouri, earlier this week belong to a woman who has been missing for seven months, authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

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The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office on Wednesday identified some of the bones as those of Jessica Runions, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Her death is being investigated as a homicide, according to KCTV.

Runions vanished in September after attending a party in south Kansas City, the Kansas City Star reported. She was with a friend of her boyfriend, Kylr Yust, when she was last seen, according to the newspaper. Authorities arrested Yust on suspicion of burning Runions' vehicle after it was found three days after her disappearance.

A mushroom hunter called authorities Monday afternoon after finding human bones in Cass County. Among the remains was a skull.

A second human skull was found in the area on Tuesday morning, deputies said.

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Authorities believe the second skull might belong to Kara Kopetsky, a Belton resident who vanished in May 2007. However, the second skull had not been identified by Friday afternoon. Kopetsky’s mother, Rhonda Beckford, told the Star that she was told that it could take up to a year to identify the remains.

“In my heart of hearts, I believe it’s Kara,” she said. “Here we are, still waiting, yet again.”

Yust has also been connected to Kopetsky’s disappearance. According to KCTV, Kopetsky vanished a week after filing for a protection order against Yust, who was her boyfriend at the time.

More than 100 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies spent nine hours on Thursday searching nearly three acres of heavily wooded, muddy land in search of additional clues in the case.

Cass County sheriff's Capt. Kevin Tieman told WDAF-TV that authorities found several pieces of evidence, but he declined to elaborate.

“I'm not ready to tell you if they're human remains or something else, but we are recovering evidence and things that we believe will help us possibly identify the second person and help with the ongoing homicide investigation," Tieman told the news station.

Authorities continue to investigate.

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