Thursday update: forensic searching continues after discovery of human remains in Cass County
Investigators found “several pieces of evidence” Thursday in a rural area in Cass County where two sets of human bones were found Monday.
One set of bones has been identified as those of a missing Raymore woman.
About 110 officers helped Thursday, at times moving shoulder to shoulder through the wooded area by a quarry near 233rd and Y Highway. Some investigators also worked on their hands and knees during the day, combing for clues.
“We are recovering evidence and things that we think will hopefully help us identify the second person and help with the ongoing homicide investigation,” said Capt. Kevin Tieman of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.
Tieman wouldn’t say what type of evidence was collected. A smaller group will search the area Friday and, if needed, into Saturday.
“We’re just glad to have found Jessica,” said Tiffani Sims, Runions’ cousin on her father’s side, “which is the most important thing.”
Sims said the family would have no other comment at this time. Kansas City police detectives are investigating Runions’ death as a homicide.
A second skull could take months, even a year, to identify.
Rhonda Beckford, mother of Kara Kopetsky, who’s been missing 10 years, said she’s hopeful the crime lab analyzing the skull and other bones “realizes the importance of these skeletal remains” and completes the tests sooner.
In the months since Runions went missing, her mother and Beckford have become close. Runions was last seen leaving a gathering of friends with Kylr Yust, who had a tumultuous nine-month relationship with Kopetsky before she disappeared.
Yust, 28, hasn’t been charged in either disappearance but is in jail awaiting an October trial on a charge that he burned Runions’ vehicle.
Beckford said she was grateful to see the Runions family — who has searched for Jessica each week for the past seven months — receive some resolution Wednesday evening.
“I know she felt bad for me,” Beckford told The Star on Thursday. “Especially when I was told these tests could take a year. But she was there for me, and I was there for her.”