Jamie Runions told jurors the longest seven months of her life began on September 9, 2016, when her daughter was missing.
Jessica Runions’ mother testified Thursday in the trial of Kylr Yust, who faces two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Runions, 21, and Kara Kopetsky, 17.
That day, Jamie Runions had planned to go with his daughter to a doctor’s appointment. When she drove to Jessica Runion’s home in Kansas City, her car was not there and her phone went straight to voicemail.
“It wasn’t like her,” Jamie Runions said, recalling how she started to panic.
She filed a missing person report with the Kansas City Police Department and the Belton Police Department. Family and community members began to search.
Over the weeks and months that followed, Jamie Runions became close to Brenda Beckford, Kara Kopetsky’s mother. Kopetsky disappeared in May 2007.
In April 2017, Beckford called Jamie Runions and told him that Kopetsky had been found with Jessica Runions.
Yust had been linked to Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, but their cases remained a long-standing mystery in the Kansas City area until a mushroom hunter found remains in a wooded area south of Belton.
Yust was charged six months later.
Opening statements were made on Monday and Beckford was the first witness to take the stand on Tuesday.
Earlier Thursday, jurors overheard a wiretap conversation about Kopetsky in which Yust said he “f —— killed” her. The recording was captured in 2011 after the FBI asked Yust’s ex-girlfriend Katelynn Farris to help with the investigation.
Yust’s defense team has raised questions about the integrity of the investigation.
Last year, Yust’s attorneys said police failed to thoroughly investigate another suspect and alleged that a Kansas City police officer had sex with a witness. His lawyer, Sharon Turlington, said Yust was innocent. No physical evidence linked him to the murders, she said.
The trial is expected to last three weeks in Cass County.