Several families united at Rockhurst Community Center Saturday for the third annual Night Of Remembrance. The event was started by the Laura E. Mason Foundation, meant to bring families with missing persons together for support, encouragement and prayer.
Among the families present were those of Jessica Runions and Kara Kopetsky. Runions, 21, has been missing for six months. Kopetsky disappeared ten years ago this month.
"You don't wanna be in this situation but you find comfort in reaching out to other people who understand how you feel,” said Rhonda Beckford, Kopetsky’s mother.
Jamie Runions, mother of Jessica, also voiced her encouragement brought by attending.
"It's other families that have been through something that I'm going through,” she said.
Local police and the AdHoc Group Against Crime were also there to support all the families in attendance. Safiyyah Mills, daughter of Laura Mason, said Night Of Remembrance gives her and her foundation a sense of purpose.
"Someone knows what happened. They didn't just vanish off the face of the Earth. So we still maintain hope,” she said.
Mason, a Kansas City mother of four, disappeared 24 years ago. Mills has never given up hope in finding out what happened to her mother and she wants to encourage other families to hold onto that same hope.
"It's a bigger support system for all of us,” said Runions.
Beckford also appreciates the new found camaraderie and said it only pushes them harder to find the truth.
"We will keep searching until we find out what happened,” she said. "Somebody, somewhere, knows what happened to Kara, and they have the key, they have the missing piece of the puzzle to bringing her home."
There is still a $90,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the discovery of Kopetsky’s whereabouts. Anyone with information on any missing person, including Runions, is encouraged to call KCPD anonymous TIPS hotline – 816-474-TIPS.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org