Police notify Kara Kopetsky's family human remains could be Kara's

Kara has been missing since May 2007
Remains found may be Kara Kopetsky, family told
Posted at 12:22 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2020-01-03 14:46:53-05

Police have notified Kara Kopetsky’s family that the human remains found in Cass County on Monday could be Kara’s.

Kara was last seen leaving Belton High School in May 2007. 

RELATED: 5 things you need to know about the disappearance of Kara Kopetesky

A human skull was found on Monday near E 233rd and State Route Y. The sheriff's office said that skull was sent to the Jackson County Medical Examiner for further examination. 

Investigators found a second skull in the same search area Tuesday morning. 

Authorities have not identified the human remains. The Cass County Sheriff's Office said although families of missing person cases in the area have been in contact with law enforcement they cannot confirm the identity of victims.

Minutes before noon on Tuesday, 41 Action News was speaking with the mothers of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions about the human remains discovered by a mushroom hunter when Belton police called. 


Click here to view a slideshow of missing people in Kansas City. 

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“I’m not going to say 100 percent, but my gut is telling me that we may have resolution,” police said in the call that was placed on speaker.

Police told Jim Beckford, Kara’s stepdad, they had discovered another human skull Tuesday morning, an older one compared to the one discovered Monday afternoon.

“I told you last night that was a hot area, and I was always on the wrong side of the street,” Beckford told police over the phone.

“I said all along it was going to be a mushroom hunter or a deer hunter is kind going to stumble on something,” Belton police said over the phone. 

The news overwhelmed both families.

Rhonda Beckford and Jamie Runions left together and drove to the Belton Police Department. They met with detectives who told them they still have to wait for forensic testing to ID the remains.




“It's just hard,” Jamie Runions said in tears. Her daughter, Jessica, was last seen on Sept. 8, 2016. 

Both mothers continue to cling to hope. 

“Ten years my emotions have become kind of tempered, but you know it definitely makes you nervous and it changes. It never gets easier,” Rhonda Beckford said. 

Kara's disappearance has been a 10-year emotional marathon for the Belton community.

People still attend the annual Find Kara walk, and many people still have Find Kara yard signs and bumper stickers on their cars.

Terry Mason organized the first walk with three other friends. She was a stranger to the Kopetsky family then. Now, after 10 years of organizing walks and supporting the family, Mason is a close family friend. 


"I think the Belton community, it's been overwhelming on my phone today. They want closure. They want Jim and Rhonda to have closure. They want them to be able to just wake up in the morning and say we're going to get them. We're going to go after the monster that is responsible for it," said Mason.

It could take days, weeks, or months before officials can confirm the identity of the remains discovered in Cass County.

Mason said she's been waiting 10 years; she doesn't mind waiting a few more weeks.