Suspect in Ex-Girlfriend's Disappearance Transported to KC
Yust is being questioned for his involvement in the disappearance of Jessica Runions
Kylr Yust, the Missouri man arrested in connection with missing 21-year-old Jessica Runions, who was once a suspect in the still-unsolved disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, has been transported to Kansas City to be questioned about another missing woman, PEOPLE confirms.
Yust was arrested in Benton County, Missouri, on Tuesday for knowingly burning the vehicle of Jessica Runions, a 21-year-old Missouri woman who was reported missing Friday.
Yust has not been charged with Runions’s disappearance, however, he is being questioned by authorities, a Kansas City police spokesperson tells PEOPLE.
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Jessica Runions was last seen leaving a house party Thursday night with Yust, a friend of her boyfriend. On Saturday, authorities discovered her empty and burned SUV on the side of the road.
Yust, 28, dated Kara Kopetsky, a Missouri teen who went missing in 2007 after leaving school. Yust was a suspect in his ex-girlfriends disappearance but was never charged, according court records obtained by PEOPLE.
Grandmother: ‘We’re very heartbroken’
As the search enters its sixth day, Runions’s family tells PEOPLE they’re staying positive by leaning on each other and their faith.
“We’re very heartbroken,” Runions’s grandmother, Linda Runions, tells PEOPLE. “We’re hoping to hear something soon.
“We have a very large family and everybody is willing to do anything they can to find her although now we’re all just kind of waiting.”
Runions was a baker at a local retirement home, her family tells PEOPLE.
Linda Runions says she hopes authorities can find enough evidence to press charges.
“He’s gotten away with a lot of things,” Linda Runions tells PEOPLE. “We’re trying our best not to let things get to us. We’re keeping our focus on finding Jessica so he doesn’t get away [again].”
Looking for Answers
Rhonda Beckford, Kara Kopetsky’s mother, tells PEOPLE she understands what Runions’s family is going through – especially her mother.
“As a mother of a missing person you have to hold on to hope in those early days,” Beckford says. “You have to hold on to some sort of hope that she’s out there.”
Beckford says she was relieved to hear Yust was arrested, even if it was for allegedly burning Runions’s SUV.
“[When] we realized [Kara] wasn’t coming back alive [our question] changed from ‘Who is preventing her from coming home?’ to ‘Who killed her and where is her body?'”
Kopetsky was last seen in May 2007, days after she had filed for a restraining order against Yust, who she dated for nine months.
A Criminal Past
In September 2011, Yust pleaded guilty to domestic violence after choking and striking his then-pregnant 18-year-old girlfriend, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE. The victim claimed Yust told her, “I’ve killed people before, even ex-girlfriends out of sheer jealousy. I will kill you.”
The victim also alleged Yust told her he had killed her three kittens and would kill her family if she went to police. A Kansas City judge filed an order of protection, which was later dismissed, court records state.
On Wednesday, investigators searched the home of Yust’s grandfather for items belonging to Runions including an iPhone, purse, and car keys, according local media.
Authorities left the home with a blue plaid shirt, a q-tip with blood and an alcohol pad with blood, FOX4 reports.
Yust is set to make his first court appearance this evening. It is unclear whether he has an attorney at this time. Additional charges are expected to be filed in the coming days, authorities tell PEOPLE.