Human remains found in Missouri identified as missing 21-year-old woman
ABC NEWS -
Human remains discovered in Missouri this week has been identified as a 21-year-old woman who went missing last September, authorities said.
The remains belong to Jessica Runions of Raymore, Missouri, who was last seen on Sept. 8, 2016, when she left a gathering in Kansas City with Kylr Yust, a friend of her boyfriend, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday night. The Kansas City Police Department notified the family shortly after it confirmed the finding, the sheriff's office said.
Kansas City Police Department is now investigating the case as a homicide, the sheriff's office said.
Officials said her remains were found in a rural area south of Kansas City. The sheriff's office said investigators also found the remains of a second person in the same area, who has not been identified. The remains -- both human skulls -- were found Monday and Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.
Two days after Runions went missing, her car was discovered burned in a wooded area in Kansas City.
Yust was accused of setting the car on fire and was charged with "knowingly burning” a vehicle, a charge to which he has pleaded not guilty. Yust has not been charged in Runions' disappearance.
Yust's attorney, Molly Hastings, said earlier to ABC News, "Kyler has not been charged with anything, with anything outside of knowingly burning a car, again, a charge he plead not guilty to, and that we intend to fight." Hastings did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment today.
Runions’ family said they had searched rural areas nearly every weekend since she went missing.
Her parents described her as a hardworking, loving and family-oriented woman who had always been close with her family.
Runions, who was working as a pastry chef in the restaurant at a senior living community, had recently been promoted to a manager position, her family said earlier to ABC News.
Her mother, Jamie Runions, said she was planning to attend college and pursue a degree in journalism.
"She’s a daughter, she’s a sister, she's a granddaughter ... she's a friend," Jamie Runions said. "She had a whole future ahead of her."
"I just want peace," Jamie Runions said in an earlier interview with ABC News. "I want the nightmare over for her."