Investigators to resume search Thursday after human remains found in Cass County

Human remains found in rural Cass County
Posted at 6:20 PM, Apr 03, 2017

Investigators will resume their search Thursday of a wooded area in Cass County, where human remains were found earlier in the week. 

On Wednesday night, the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office identified one set of human remains as Jessica Runions, according to a news release from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Police had suspended their search efforts Wednesday, near 233rd Street and Route Y Highway, due to weather conditions. 

On Monday around 3:40 p.m., Cass County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a wooded area just south of Belton. According to police, a mushroom hunter had discovered human remains. 

The next day, investigators discovered a second skull in the same area.  

"We’ll send everything we have in terms of evidence back to the Medical Examiner, and hopefully they can get something back to us in a relatively short period of time," Cass County Sheriff Jeff Weber said. "But when you're dealing with bones, they usually go to a lab out of state, either Kansas or Texas, so it may take a little bit of time to get the results back on anything.”

Belton police contacted the families of missing women Kara Kopetsky and Runions Tuesday to inform them that a second skull was found.

Kopetsky was last seen leaving Belton High School in May 2007. She was just 17 years old. 

Runions, 21, was last seen in September 2016. Kansas City police discovered her burned car. 

"A lot of emotion has run through us these last couple of days,” said Terry Magelssen, who lives feet away from the search area. “It’s disturbing, obviously unsettling. Hopefully two families will get some closure.”

The search area is located on a local quarry company’s property. 

41 Action News has learned the property was not on investigators’ radars before Monday. However, police had searched another wooded property for a missing person’s case about four miles from the current search scene years ago. That search turned up nothing. 

Due to the ongoing investigation in the area, Y Highway will be closed to traffic except for local residents. 

There will continue to be a large police presence in the area overnight and as the search continues.