Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions: The case against Kylr Yust

The Kansas City Star

Kylr Yust
Kylr Yust

Here’s a look at the probable cause statement against Kylr Yust from Cass County in the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.










Case No. 17CA-CR00957

OCN: N?a



I, Lieutenant Brad Swanson, knowing that false statements on this form are punishable bylaw, state that the facts contained herein are true.

1. I have probable cause to believe that on 05/04/2007, in Cass County, Missouri, Kylr C. Yust, W /M, 09/14/1988, SSN 491-04-0478, committed one or more criminal offenses.

2. The facts supporting this belief arc as follows:

On 4/28/2007, K.E.K., d/o/b. 2/17/1990, arrived at the Belton Police Department to report that Kylr Yust kidnapped her earlier in the evening. Officer Mary Bruegge took K.E.K's statement. K.E.K. informed Officer Bruegge that Defendant, Kylr Yust, was her ex-boyfriend. K.E.K informed Officer Bruegge that she recently ended their relationship, K.E.K. stated that on 4/28/2007, as she was leaving her job at Popeye's Chicken located in Belton, Missouri, the defendant forced her into his vehicle after she refused to hang out with him for the evening. K.E.K. stated the defendant then drove around, and he eventually let her out of the vehicle after driving to Grandview.

On 04/30/2007, K.E.K. applied for and received an Ex-Parte Order of Protection against the Defendant through the Associate Circuit Court of Cass County. The Order was served to the Defendant on 5/1/2007.

On 5/4/2007, at approximately 5:17 p.m., witness A.C. arrived at the Belton Police Department and reported K.E.K. missing. A.C. was interviewed by Belton Police Officer Squires. A.C. reported that she had not seen K.E.K. for at least two days, and K.E.K. was not answering her telephone calls or text messages. Officer Squires contacted R. Beckford and J. Beckford, the victim's parents. Ms. Beckford advised that K.E.K. had been home earlier in the day, but they were not able to make contact with her that afternoon. Officer Squires reported K.E.K. in the police computer system as "Missing".

On 5/5/2007, Officer Strong of the Belton Police Department responded to the victim's address in Belton, Missouri. Officer Strong contacted K.E.K.'s stepfather, J. Beckford and Mother, R. Beckford. They advised that they still had not had any contact with the victim and were very concerned about her whereabouts.

On 5/6/2007, at approximately 10:30p.m., Officers. Edison, made contact with the Defendant, Kylr Yust, the ex-boyfriend of K.E.K., in regards to any information he may have regarding the victim. The defendant stated that his last contact with K.E.K. had been on 5/3/2007 in the afternoon hours. The defendant denied any contact with K.E.K. on 5/4/2007, the day of the victim's disappearance. The defendant stated that he did not have any contact with K.E. K. on 5/4/2007, only that he had seen where he missed a call from K.E.K., and when trying to call her back, she failed to answer his phone call.

K.E.K.'s phone records revealed that the defendant was not truthful about the last time he had contact with K.E.K. The phone records revealed that the victim called the defendant at 9:13 a.m. on 5/4/2007. Additionally, K.E.K.'s cell phone records revealed that the defendant then called the victim back at 9:20 AM on 5/4/2007. Belton High School surveillance camera revealed K.E.K. exiting Belton High School at 9:19 a.m. on 5/4/2007. The defendant placed a phone call to K.E.K. at 9:20 a.m., 1 minute after she exited the high school. The surveillance footage at 9:19 a.m. on 5/4/2007 is the last time K.E.K. was seen alive.

On 5/6/2007, the defendant was interviewed by officers from the Belton Police Department. Yust stated that the last time he saw K.E.K. was 5/3/2007, and the last time he talked to K.E.K. was on 5/3/2007 when she got off of work. Yust stated that on 5/4/2007, K.E.K. called him around 11:00a.m., but he missed the call because he was asleep. Yust stated that he attempted to text K.E.K. back, but did not get any reply. Yust never informed officers that K.E.K. called him at 9:13 a.m. on 5/4/2007, and he never revealed that he called K.E.K. back at 9:20 a.m. on 5/4/2007. The last time K.E.K. was seen alive was on the surveillance footage at 9:19 a.m., right before K.E.K. exits that school. The phone calls between K.E.K. and Yust were within minutes of the last time K.E.K. was seen alive.

During the interviews, Yust admitted to kidnapping K.E.K. on 4/28/2007. He stated that he abducted K.E.K. the week before she went missing because he was upset that K.E.K. was dating other men and he was upset that K.E.K. wanted out of their on-and-off relationship. Yust informed Off. Edison that K.E.K. was dating other men, and he was not happy about it. When asked whether he had ever physically abused K.E.K., Yust initially denied any physical abuse, but he later admitted that he grabbed K.E.K. by the arms on several occasions while the two had argued.

On 7/23/2007, Yust was interviewed by Belton Det. Billy Jones. During the interview, Yust admitted that the night prior to K.E.K. disappearing, which would have been 5/3/2007, they were arguing on the phone over the fact that K.E.K. had a friend, J.H., coming into town. Yust told Det. Jones that it angered him that K.E.K. planned to "spend the weekend partying and running around on him."

Belton police officers interviewed J.H., K.E.K.'s friend from St. Louis that Yust claimed K.E.K. was supposed to spend time with on 5/6/2007. J.H. confirmed that he was supposed to spend time with K.E.K. the weekend after she went missing, but he called K.E.K. on 5/6/2007 and K.E.K. did not ever answer the phone. J.H. reported that was unable to reach K.E.K. anytime that weekend. J.H. did not learn K.E.K. was missing until he called her home number on 5/7/07 and was told by K.E.K.'s parents that she was missing.

K.E.K. was never seen alive again after the last time she is seen on Belton High School surveillance footage on 5/4/2007 at 9:19 a.m. At the time of her disappearance on 5/4/2007, K.E.K. was employed at Popeye's Chicken. K.E.K. had a paycheck at Popeye's that she was scheduled to pick up on 5/9/2007, and she never picked her paycheck up. On 6/1/2007, Det. Lonnie Dodge was present when K.E.K.'s locker at Belton High School was searched and cleared out. K.E.K.'s Commerce Bank debit card was found in the locker. Commerce Bank was contacted. There had been no activity on K.E.K.'s bank account.

Witness K.R. was a friend of Yust and K.E.K. K.R. was interviewed regarding K.E.K.'s disappearance. K.R. informed the police that the morning of 5/4/2007, K.E.K. called him to ask if K.E.K. and Yust could come over and hang out. K.R. stated that he informed K.E.K. that he was too busy. K.R. stated that Yust came by his residence at approximately 12:30 p.m. to smoke a cigarette. K.E.K. was not with Yust when he came by K.R.'s residence. K.R. stated that Yust called him later in the day, and he was crying and frantic telling K.R. not to tell anyone that Yust and K.E.K. were together earlier in the day. Yust told K.R. that he did not want anyone to know that he and K.E.K. had been together since the ex parte order of protection had been put into place against him the previous week for kidnapping K.E.K. K.R. informed the police that he tried to call Kara multiple times on 5/4/2007, but she never answered.

On 04/26/2010, Sgt. Jones of the Belton Police Department interviewed N.Y. N.Y. was reported to have information concerning the defendant being involved in the disappearance and homicide of K.E.K. N.Y. was roommates with Yust in 2007, and he played in a band with Yust. N.Y. stated that approximately 6-8 months prior to 4/26/2010, he had been with the Defendant and was discussing an ongoing relationship problem he was having with his own girlfriend. N.Y. stated Yust told him that he shouldn't get attached to girls, and began talking about his relationship with the victim. N.Y. stated Yust then told him that the victim K.E.K. wouldn't love him, and that he was angry with her because he didn't want her to love someone else. Yust then told N.Y. that he had just snapped, and that something bad happened to the victim.

On 01/22/2011, K.F. contacted affiant. K.F. informed affiant that the Defendant confessed to her that he killed K.E.K. K.F. stated that the defendant confessed to choking K.E.K to death, packing her up, and placing her in some woods.

On 2/4/2011, K.F. re-contacted law enforcement and stated that the Defendant came over to her house and again Yust confessed to choking the victim to death. K.F. stated that Yust described watching the victim breathe her last breath, and falling back against a chair and staring at her body for a short time before packing her up and placing her body in the woods.

During the course of the investigation, C.M. was identified as a previous girlfriend of the defendant. On 8/19/2011, C.M. was interviewed by detectives from the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. C.M. advised that at a point in their relationship, Yust became very violent with her, choking her. Yust told C.M. he had killed his girlfriends in the past and would not hesitate to kill her.

C.M. and Yust lived with their friend A.C. A.C. was interviewed by Belton Police Detective Strong on 10/5/2016. During the interview, A.C. stated that approximately 3 1/2 years earlier, Yust told A.C. that he choked the victim to death, and no one would ever find the body unless he told somebody where the body was.

On 6/5/2012, S.D. contacted Belton Police Detective Jones and stated that in early 2012 he had a conversation with the Defendant in which the Defendant stated he had picked up the victim from school the day she went missing because she had gotten into an argument with a teacher or something. Yust told S.D. that they were having relationship issues, and they got into a physical altercation and he choked her out. The Defendant told S.D. that he watched K.E.K. take her last breath and sat down and stared at her body before taking her remains and placing them into some woods.

In 9/2015, affiant responded to a correctional facility in Oklahoma where the Defendant was being housed on federal drug charges and again confronted Yust with the information showing that he lied about not having a phone conversation with the victim on the day she disappeared. The Defendant declined to answer any questions, and affiant left the facility.

On 3/28/2016, Belton Police Detective Strong received a phone call from J.C. J.C. informed Det. Strong that he had been a cellmate of the Defendant's. J.C. stated that after the affiant interviewed the Defendant at the Oklahoma prison in September 2015, the Defendant returned back to the jail cell slightly despondent and asked J.C. to help him get an alibi. J.C. stated that Yust admitted at that point that he had killed the victim by strangulation and then disposed of her body.

On 9/10/2016, Officer Harrison with the Belton Police Department was contacted about a missing person. Officer Harrison was contacted by a family member of J.S.R., d/o/b. 7/10/1995, who advised that J.S.R. was her daughter. She stated that J.S.R. was missing and had last been seen on 9/8/2016 at an address in south Kansas City at a party at that residence. She stated that J.S.R. left the party with Yust, and J.S.R. had not been seen or talked to since.

Additional investigation revealed that on 09/08/2016, at approximately 2300 hours, the defendant Yust and the victim J.S.R. were seen leaving a party in Grandview, Missouri in a black 2012 Chevrolet Equinox (VIN: 2GNALDEKSC6198820) bearing Missouri license MN2CB. This vehicle belonged to the victim, J.S.R. Witnesses at the Grandview residence stated Yust was drinking heavily at the party, and Yust was acting very possessive towards the victim J.S.R. and aggressive towards others at the party. Witnesses stated Yust and J.S.R. were arguing at the party.

On 09/09/2016, at 2210 hours, after being unable to make contact with the victim, a member of the victim's family reported her missing to the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department.

J.S.R. was never seen alive again after she left the Grandview, Missouri party with Yust. J.S.R. did not respond to any calls or text messages at any time after she left the Grandview party with Yust. J.S.R. had a doctor's appointment on 9/9/2017. J.S.R.'s mother was scheduled to meet J.S.R. at the doctor's appointment. J.S.R. never showed up for the doctor's appointment.

On 09/10/2016, at 0141 hours, the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department responded to a car fire in the area of 95th street and Blue River Road in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri. It was later determined this vehicle belonged to the victim J.S.R. and was the same one she was last seen in when J.S.R. and Yust left the party together.

On 9/10/2016, J.C. contacted the Belton Police Department. Det. Strong and affiant interviewed J.C. J.C. informed the police that he was with Yust, and Yust told him that he strangled and killed J.S.R., that "she was gone". Yust further told the witness that he dragged the victim's body into an undisclosed wooded area, but he could not drag her very far in. The witness further stated that Yust wanted help with burning J.S.R.'s car. J.C. was with Yust when Yust intentionally set the victim's vehicle on fire. During the course of setting the vehicle on fire, Yust inadvertently was burned on the hands and face.

After burning J.S.R.'s vehicle, J.C. stated he took Yust to J.C.'s residence in Edwards, Missouri to allow Yust time to heal from the burns he received. Once J.C. was away from Yust, he notified police of what Yust told him, Yust's actions he observed that night, and the whereabouts of Yust.

On 09/11/2016, at 0936 hours, a search warrant was served at the Edwards, Missouri mobile home belonging to J.C. by the Benton County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at which time Yust was taken into custody without incident. At the time of his arrest, Yust had noticeable burns to his face, hands, and arms and apparent scratches on his face.

On 4/3/2017, Witness T.K. reported to the Cass County Sheriff's Department that he had discovered what appeared to be human remains in the area of 233" and Y Highway. Responding Officers located the human remains, which included a skull and several bones.

On 4/4/2017, while conducting a more extensive search in the area where these human remains were found, a second set of remains were discovered that appeared to be considerably older than the first set of remains.

On 4/5/2017 the first set of remains that were discovered were determined by the Kansas City Medical Examiner's Office and Kansas City Crime Lab personnel to be those of J.S.R., through DNA and dental records. The second set of remains were recovered by the Kansas City Crime Scene Technicians and subsequently sent by the Jackson County Medical Examiner and then to the FBI Crime Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for examination.

On 8/16/2016, the second set of human remains was identified as K.E.K. These remains were located in close proximity to the remains of J.S.R. in a heavily wooded area in the area of Y Highway and 233rd Street in Cass County.

Signed by Lt. Brad Swanson, Affiant on Oct. 4, 2017.

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