Jessica Runions, 21, was last seen Thursday night in the company of 27-year-old Kylr Yust in Raymore, Missouri. He was arrested on charges of “knowingly burning” her vehicle after she disappeared, according to police.
Yust, who has a lengthy criminal record, was also questioned in connection with the disappearance of Kara Kopetsky in 2007. He has a history of volatile relationships with women, and reportedly claimed he has killed other people.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Yust Burned Runions’ Car After She Went Missing, Police Say
Runions was last seen leaving a party on the evening of September 8 in the company of Yust, The Kansas City Star reported.
Runions’ car was discovered September 10 in south Kansas City, burned and abandoned. Yust, who police say is a person of interest in her disappearance, was arrested September 11 for “knowingly burning” the car, police spokeswoman Sgt. Kari Thompson said.
“I’m numb. I can’t think,” Runions’ mother, Jamie, told The Kansas City Star. “But right now I have positive news that my daughter wasn’t in the car when they found it. And that’s what’s going to keep me going right now. There’s hope.”
Though police haven’t confirmed a connection, friends said Yust was a longtime friend of Runions’ boyfriend.
2. He Is the Former Boyfriend of a Teen Who Went Missing in 2007
Runions isn’t the only missing woman with whom Yust has a connection.
Yust is the ex-boyfriend of Kara Kopetsky, who disappeared in May 2007 at the age of 17. In April of the same year, Kopetsky was granted a restraining order against him for allegedly “choking and thumping on her,” Missing Persons of America reported.
Only a few days later she disappeared, according to authorities.
Yust was questioned in connection with the disappearance but was never charged, police said.
Shea Corlee posted about the situation to Facebook:
This whole ordeal with Jessica Runions is bringing up a lot of old wounds for people. I think I speak for all of my Belton friends when I say we are all hoping justice is served, not only for Kara, who I think has all been a part of our lives at some point, but for the endless victims of his abuse. I was hesitant on making any post about the situation, mainly because I don’t have much to say that hasn’t already been said. I hope Jessica is found alive, I hope that some new evidence comes to light on Kara and giving her family the closure they need, and I hope that our justice system finally puts a stop to all of this before another innocent person is hurt.
“I want the family to get some type of resolution, but at the same time I want it the right way…whoever did this I will get charged someday, and when that charge gets filed it will stick,” Lt. Brad Swanson told Crime Watch Daily while on the show.
3. He Has a Lengthy Criminal Record, Including Charges for Killing Cats & Trying to Strangle His Girlfriend to Death
Yust has been in and out of the court system on allegations that include other domestic violence incidents, killing cats, stealing and drug charges.
In 2010, Yust was accused of trying to choke his 18-year-old girlfriend to death. The woman, who told police she was pregnant with twins at the time of the attack, said Yust came home drunk and assaulted her. A police report obtained by the Kansas City Star said Yust “grabbed her by both hands dragging her to their bedroom.” According to the report, Yust “looked into her eyes grinding his teeth and licking his lips as he placed both hands around her neck.” He then reportedly said he would kill the victim if she “screamed again.”
Records state Yust was also accused of killing the same girlfriend’s three cats.
In 2013, Yust was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on drug trafficking charges. Before being sentenced a judge asked him if he had anything to say, to which he replied, “Eat a steak for me,” Fox4KC reported.
Court documents state that Yust said he was sexually abused as a child and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The documents also say he claimed to have have started drinking at 11, first used cocaine at 14 and moved onto heroin at 16.
4. He Claimed to Have Killed Other Women, One of His Victims Says
In addition to having a connection to two missing women and a lengthy criminal record, Yust was also accused of making a claim that he killed other people.
“I’ve killed people before, even ex-girlfriends out of sheer jealousy. I will kill you,” Yust allegedly told the victim from 2010. He also told her that he knew of pigs that would “eat anything, including bones,” Missing Persons of America reported.
On March 17, Yust posted a chilling update to Facebook, though he didn’t say who it was aimed at. He stated:
I miss your smile. i miss your laugh. your eyes. your hair. the small of your back. your hands. your lips. your goodnight kiss. wherever you are i hope its bliss
5. Police Are Asking for Tips & He Is Being Held on $50,000 Bail
“Missouri Search and Rescue has searched two large areas twice with negative results,” Police said
Yust is being held on a cash-only $50,000 bond.
Anyone with information to the missing women are asked to call the Kansas City Police Department’s Missing Person’s division at 816-234-5136, TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477(TIPS) or 911.