Jackson County prosecutors on Friday dropped a less serious charge against a man now accused of murder in the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.
Kylr Yust, 29, had been charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with burning a vehicle that belonged to Runions. Yust was scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 23 in that case.
Prosecutors said they will instead work with Cass County prosecutors on the two counts of murder filed there. Yust, who had long been suspected in connection to the missing women, also was charged with two counts of abandonment of a corpse. The women’s remains were found in April in rural Cass County.
“The prosecutors in Jackson and Cass have agreed that we could best pursue justice by working together on this case,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a written statement. “My office will work with Cass County in a joint commitment to the pursuit of justice for the victims in this case.”
Yust was transferred from Jackson County to the Cass County Jail Friday afternoon. His bond is set at $1 million.
The murder charges filed Thursday came six months after a mushroom hunter found human remains in a wooded area south of Belton. Authorities then searched the area near a quarry and found more remains, including a second skull.
Kopetsky, 17, was last seen leaving Belton High School in 2007.
Runions, 21, of Raymore, was reported missing last year after she was seen leaving a party with Yust, according to court documents. Her abandoned vehicle was found burned a few days later in south Kansas City.
Baker and attorneys from her office met this week with the Runions family regarding a joint effort with Cass County authorities to prosecute Yust and to dismiss the pending case in Jackson County.
Relatives said they supported the decision and their only concern was to seek justice for their daughter, according to Baker’s statement.