For just a minute or two, Kylr Yust appeared before a Jackson County circuit judge Thursday afternoon.
Shackled at the hands and feet, Yust stood before Judge Charles McKenzie as he heard the charge against him: Class D felony of knowingly burning or exploding. That charge is related to allegations that he burned the vehicle of Jessica Runions, 21, of Raymore, who disappeared Sept. 8. Runions was last seen leaving a gathering with Yust, who is a long-time friend of her boyfriend.
When McKenzie asked him if he understood, Yust answered: “Yes, sir.”
As Yust, 28, was escorted from the courtroom, he kept his eyes straight ahead and didn’t look into the benches of spectators. There in the front row were the mother and stepfather of Kara Kopetsky, Yust’s ex-girlfriend who disappeared in May 2007.
In the years since Kara disappeared, a member of her family tries to be at every court hearing Yust has had on unrelated charges, including a federal drug conviction. And now, with Runions still missing, they’ve been in contact with her family.
“We want to let (Yust) know that even though we’re coming up on 10 years, Kara’s life meant something,” Rhonda Beckford, Kara’s mother, said after the hearing Thursday. “She meant something not only to us, but now to a lot more people.”
Authorities arrested Yust Sunday morning in Benton County, Mo. He stayed in the jail there until Wednesday, when he was transported to Kansas City.
Police continue to look for Runions and have searched the remote area in south Kansas City where officers found her car early Saturday morning. Posters of the young woman are posted throughout the metro area and across social media.
“We need to find Jessica, she’s been missing a week,” Beckford said. “Please, everybody, if you know anything at all, please call in and say what you know.”
Authorities asked anyone with information about Runions’ disappearance to call the Kansas City Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit, 816-234-5136, or the TIPS hotline, 816-474-8477.