Police asking more questions about Kylr Yust in Kara Kopetsky case

Kara's remains identified after April discovery
Posted at 4:24 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2020-01-03 18:50:02-05

Family and friends of Kara Kopetsky paid their respects at a roadside memorial for her and Jessica Runions Thursday.

The two women’s bodies were discovered in April. Runions’s remains were quickly identified, but Kopetsky’s remains were just identified Wednesday.

Kopetsky had been missing for 10 years, since May 4, 2007.

The memorial is within 50 yards of the place where the women’s remains were found, in a remote, rural area of Cass County.

Nicole Wood was one of the people who came to the memorial Thursday.

Wood has known Kopetsky's mother, Rhonda Beckford, for years, and Wood's daughter went to school with Kopetsky.

"I think my heart just hurts for Jamie and Rhonda and their families, for the girls," Wood said. "As a mom, to think they were out here all this time and so close, so close to home, it just breaks my heart." 

According to Kopetsky's mother, friends set up the memorial for Runions and Kopetsky shortly after their bodies were discovered in April, even though Kopetsky's remains weren't positively identified until Wednesday.

"I don't believe any of us thought it would be anyone else. We knew it was Kara," Wood said.

In the wooded area where the women’s bodies were found, there are a couple of wrappers for flowers placed there.

"I just feel bad for the mother that we didn't know," Joyce Monteil said.

Monteil lives within a couple miles from where a mushroom hunter and officials found the remains.

Monteil showed 41 Action News a couple of pictures from July 2008 of Kylr Yust at her home, including one with her grandson Trey. He was in a rock band with Yust.

</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Photo courtesy Joyce Monteil 

Both Kopetsky and Runions have connections to Yust.

Kopetsky placed a protection order against Yust just a few days before her disappearance. 

Yust is currently in jail, accused of the arson of Runions's car.

The 41 Action News Investigators first spoke to Trey's father about his son's relationship with Yust at Monteil's home in April after the bodies were discovered.

Monteil said within a week of that interview, Belton, Cass County, and Kansas City Police paid her a visit.

"They wanted to know more about Kylr and what we knew about him," she said.

Monteil gave the police the same pictures she showed the 41 Action News Investigators of Yust at her home in 2008.

She said her grandson Trey has spoken to police about Yust multiple times, including recently.

Monteil said Trey repeatedly told police Yust never said anything to him about Kopetsky.

She also told the 41 Action News Investigators Trey lived with Kylr for about a month shortly after he graduated from high school.

At the memorial for Kopetsky and Runions, there's a sign demanding justice for them.

So far, no one has been charged in their deaths.

When the 41 Action News Investigators asked Monteil if she had any doubt in her mind about who's responsible for the women's deaths, she said, "No, not in mine now.”

"I do believe justice will be done," Wood said. "The community is crying out for that, family is and I think it's important to make sure that these people don't hurt anyone ever again.”

Wood also believes multiple people may have been involved in Kopetsky’s and Runions’s deaths.

"And to not say anything, how did they live with themselves? How did they walk around? How did they not come forward so these families would have their daughters back?" Wood questioned. "And that is shameful, it is evil, it is disgusting."

Six years ago Thursday, another young woman filed a complaint against Yust claiming he nearly choked her to death.

Yust later pleaded guilty to assault in that case.

That young woman's mother said her thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Kopetsky and Runions. 

She knows what it's like to lose a child. Her son died in a car accident.

"Having lost my son 10 years ago, my heart grieves for them," she said.


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