NewsKansas City Public SafetyYust TrialPeople


Kylr Yust

Kylr Yust standard.jpg
Posted at 12:12 PM, Feb 11, 2020

Kylr Yust stands accused in the murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. He was charged with their murders on Oct. 4, 2017, at the age of 29. Yust, who had personal connections to both women, also was charged with burning Runions’ car in Jackson County, though those charges were dismissed after his arrest on the murder charges. Yust was questioned about the disappearance of Kara Kopetsky in 2007, when he was 18. According to court records, he and Kopetsky had recently broken up before her disappearance. She had filed an order of protection against him on April 30, 2007, just four days before she went missing. Kopetsky told police that Yust had kidnapped her when she was leaving work. Yust was questioned in her disappearance but not considered a suspect at the time.

Yust continued to have run-ins with law enforcement after Kopetsky’s disappearance. In 2011, Yust’s then-girlfriend, who was six months pregnant, filed a personal protection order against him. According to the police report, the woman said Yust choked her several times and punched her to keep her from passing out. She also said he killed three of her cats. According to the woman, Yust told her that he had killed before, including ex-girlfriends out of jealousy. He was charged with animal cruelty and placed on probation for two years on the abuse allegations.

His ex-girlfriend was allegedly not the only person to whom Yust confessed that he had killed before. According to a probable cause statement, multiple witnesses came forward over the years with similar allegations against Yust, saying he had confessed to them that he had strangled Kopetsky to death and put her body in the woods.

Yust was released from prison five weeks before Runions’ disappearance in 2016, according to Jackson County court documents filed in a child support case. He spent nearly four years at a federal prison outside of Oklahoma City for attempting to distribute drugs.

On Sept. 8, 2016, Yust was seen leaving a party with Runions, the last time she was seen alive. Her car was found burned days later in south Kansas City, and Yust was arrested and charged with knowingly burning the vehicle. Shortly after her disappearance, a witness told investigators that Yust admitted to strangling and killing Runions and said he had left her body in the woods. The witness also said that he watched Yust burns Runions’ car.

In September 2016, police searched the home of Yust’s grandfather in Edwards, Missouri, where Yust reportedly slept for days before his arrest. When police executed a search warrant at the home, they found a blue plaid shirt and an alcohol pad and Q-Tip with blood on them.

Six months after a mushroom hunter found human remains in rural Cass County, Yust was charged with the murders of both Kopetsky and Runions. He was transferred from the Jackson County Detention Center to Cass County Jail, where he remains today.