Remains found in April have been identified as those of teen missing since 2007
Human remains found this past spring have been confirmed to be those of a Missouri teen who vanished in 2007. Kara Kopetsky hadn't been seen since leaving her Missouri high school in May 2007.
The 17-year-old's parents would wait over 10 years to learn for sure where she ended up. A mushroom hunter found remains in a rural area south of the town of Belton in April.
A second skull was found nearby the following day. On Thursday, the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office announced it had received laboratory analysis, which was conducted by the FBI.
"I have received both the mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA reports from the FBI for the unidentified skeleton recovered in Cass County. Both reports indicate the remains are that of Kara Elise Kopetsky."
Chief Medical Examiner Diane C. Peterson, MD said. The other set of remains were identified in April as those of 21-year-old Jessica Runions.
Runion was last seen Sept. 8, 2016 while leaving a party with 28-year-old Kylr Yust, an estranged boyfriend of Kara Kopetsky.
Kopetsky had filed for an order of protection against Yust, the hearing for which was scheduled for just days after the day she vanished. Yust was arrested last September after the discovery of Runions' car.
He was accused of setting fire and has been charged with “knowingly burning” a vehicle. Yust pleaded not guilty to the charge. He has not been charged in connection with the deaths of Kopetsky or Runions.
Rhonda Beckford, the mother of Kara Kopetsky, and her stepfather, Jim Beckford, addressed reporters after the identification of the remains were made public.
"It's been a long ten years and we don't like to use the word 'closure;' we prefer to use 'resolution,'" Mrs. Beckford told KCTV. "And of course now we are headed into a new phase, you know. "We've gotten Kara identified and now we can have a funeral and put her to rest, you know, the way it should've always been and move toward prosecution."
Mrs. Beckford evoked the other victim, as well, saying she and Runions' mother were "in this together." "We're a team, you know? Now -- the dirtbag has not only taken my daughter but her daughter as well," Beckford said.
Mr. Beckford said he felt as though a "heaviness has been lifted" in the wake of the recent news. "There's a lightness in the air," he said. "It's a glorious day. Kara is officially back home."