Few, if any of the families of the 852 people currently missing in Missouri, have worked harder or longer to bring back a loved one than the mother and stepfather of Kara Kopetsky.
Kara walked out of her high school on a Friday morning in May of 2007 and simply vanished without a trace. Now, her family works tirelessly to keep some, any, attention focused on her case.
When human remains were discovered in Sedalia last week, then identified as those of a single, white, woman, it stoked the family’s anxiety on the 7th anniversary of Kara’s disappearance.
“Of course your worst fear is that they're no longer on this earth," Kara’s mother Rhonda Beckford said.
She spoke to 41 Action News from her home, surrounded by mementos of her daughter – including a quilt with pictures of her face on it.
"Every year on May 4th it’s another year that Kara's missing and we don't know what happened to her," she said.
Kara’s DNA is kept on file in a national register. On Tuesday, Beckford called Belton PD and asked them to check it against the unidentified body found in Sedalia. It was not a match. This body and this unhappy ending would not be theirs.
Beckford, who occasionally counsels family members of other missing children, knows what this means: heartbreak for another family and more waiting for hers.
“I don't know if it’s a relief,” she said. “Here we are waiting again. For that answer. For the resolution of the last seven years.”