Name: Kara Elise Kopetsky
Age: 17 years old
Last seen: May 4, 2007
Location: Belton, Missouri
Status: Found Deceased
Kara Elise Kopetsky was born on February 17th, 1990, in Frankfurt, Germany, to parents Rhonda Beckford and Michael Kopetsky.
At the time of her disappearance, Kara was in her junior year at Belton High School and worked as a cashier at Popeye’s Chicken in Belton, after school.
In April 2007, Kara ended a nine-month relationship with 18-year-old Kylr Yust. The two had been dating on and off since the fall of 2006.
On April 28th, 2007, Kara went to the police to report that her ex-boyfriend Kylr Yust had allegedly kidnapped her and forced her into his vehicle when she was leaving work that evening. He drove her around before she was eventually able to escape in Grandview, Missouri.
Two days later, on April 30th, 2007, Kara filed for an order of protection against her ex-boyfriend Kylr Yust in Cass County. She stated that he had kidnapped, restrained, and choked her in the past and she was afraid that his behavior would get worse.
On the morning of May 4th, 2007, Kara’s mother dropped her off at Belton High School. Her mother later returned to the school to bring her a textbook and her work uniform, dropping them off at the front desk.
Around 9:19 a.m, Kara was seen on the school security video walking down the hall, likely to skip the third period, which she did quite often. Kara Kopetsky never returned to school or home and has not been heard from since.
That same evening, Kara failed to return home from school, her mother immediately filed a missing persons report to the Belton Police Department.
Kara left behind all her personal belongings at her house, including an entire carton of cigarettes minus one pack and an iPod she had just gotten for Christmas.
Her debit card was found in her school locker, and there has been no activity on her bank account since her disappearance. However, her cell phone and purse were missing.
Four days before Kara Kopetsky disappeared, she had broken up with her 18-year-old boyfriend Kylr Yust. She had filed an order of protection against him, for allegedly kidnapping her and forcing her into his vehicle when she was leaving work the evening of April 28th, 2007.
On May 6th, 2007, Kylr told police that he didn’t have any contact with Kara on the day of her disappearance. He said he had a missed call from Kara around 11 a.m the morning she went missing, but she didn’t answer when he tried to call her back.
However, phone records revealed that Kara had actually made a phone call to him at 9:13 a.m, and he called her back at 9:20 a.m, just one minute after she was last seen leaving high school on surveillance video.
On November 22nd, 2013, Kylr Yust was convicted for an unrelated drug trafficking charge and sentenced to four years in a federal prison outside of Oklahoma City.
Between 2010 and 2016, several witnesses, including a former roommate, ex-girlfriend, and cell inmate told police that Kylr admitted to strangling Kara Kopetsky to death and hiding her body in an undisclosed wooded area.
Jessica Runions Case
On September 8th, 2016, 21-year-old Jessica Runions disappeared after leaving a party at a home in Grandview, Missouri at approximately 11:00 pm. She was last seen accompanied by Kylr Yust, who was a childhood friend of her boyfriend.
On April 3rd, 2017, human remains were discovered by a mushroom hunter in the area of 233rd Street and Y Highway in Belton, Missouri.
The following day, on April 4th, 2017, police conducted an extensive search of the wooded area and recovered a second set of remains that appeared to have been there much older.
On April 5th, 2017, the first set of remains were identified as those belonging to Jessica Runions by the Kansas City Medical Examiner’s Office and Kansas City Crime Lab.
On August 16th, 2017, the second set of remains was identified as Kara Kopetsky at the FBI Crime Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
Kylr Yust Charged With Murder
On October 6th, 2017, Kylr Yust was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abandoning a corpse related to the disappearance and murder of both Kara Kopetsky in 2007 and Jessica Runions in 2016.
On April 15th, 2021, Kylr Yust was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in Kara Kopetsky’s death and second-degree murder in Jessica Runions’ death.
On June 7th, 2021, Kylr Yust was sentenced to 45 years in prison after the judge accepted the jury’s recommended maximum sentence in his murder trial. His 15-year sentence for Kara Kopetsky’s death and life imprisonment for Jessica Runions’ will be served consecutively.