In May, 2007, Kara Kopetsky was only 17-years-old when she walked out of Belton High School in Missouri, never to be seen or heard from again.
Today is Kara Kopetsky’s 24th Birthday and the Belton Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have released an age progressed photo of Kara in an effort to keep the unsolved case alive.
When a person goes missing, it is natural that the family of the person missing are closely scrutinized as are any current or past romantic partners. Also, investigators look for any connections to other cases.
In the Kara Kopetsky case, she did have an ex-boyfriend, Kylr Yust and their break-up was anything but friendly.
A month before her disappearance, April 28, 2007, Kara had left work and was abducted by her boyfriend in a vehicle. As he was driving, she was able to open the door, jump out and escape.
Just four days before her disappearance, Kara filed a restraining order on him and detailed the prior kidnapping and said she was fearful because the abuse had escalated.
She disappeared the day before her court hearing regarding the restraining order was supposed to start.
Kyle Yust has also had a number of problems with the law, including domestic violence.
In December of 2011, Yust was arrested because he was in the company of a woman that had filed a restraining order against him.
The unnamed victim has said that Yust tried to kill her and that he also made comments to her that he had killed before. (See the full police report to read it in it’s entirety with names redacted.)
She later supposedly got back with him, in spite of the threats, as Kopetsky did, and further said she did not need the restraining order anymore.
Yust also allegedly killed three cats that belonged to the victim, in 2 separate incidents and was indicted for felony theft of a tattoo shop that he worked at.
Kyle Yust reportedly passed a lie detector test when asked if he was involved in Kara Koptesky’s disappearance.
A month after Kara Kopetsky disappeared, another young girl disappeared and was found dead.
Kelsey Smith, went to Target in Overland, Kansas on June 2, 2007. Someone followed her into and out of the store and was seen on Surveillance video approaching Kelsey Smith as she got into her car after shopping.
Edwin Roy “Jack” Hall of Olathe, Kansas, was identified as the person in the video.
As part of a plea agreement, Hall pleaded guilty to all four charges brought against him and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Kelsey Smith.
No evidence was found to connect Hall to the disappearance of Kara Kopetsky and Hall never admitted any involvement.
The Belmont Police Department has come under a lot of fire for their handling of the Kara Koptesky.
Kara Kopetsky was reported missing on May 4, 2007, yet Belmont Police records state that she went missing on May 2, 1997.
She was seen in school on May 4, on school surveillance video, and she spoke to her mother that day as well so the family does not understand why the Belmont police department has an earlier date in their records.
Her mother Rhonda Beckford has said,
I just don’t know what Belton thinks that they’re doing. It’s all lies and this is the first time we’ve seen the report. Why are we just now seeing this?
Beckford Police stand by the timeline and say there is no discrepancy.
There is also a police report on record about a possible confession to the murder of Kara Koptesky.
Beckford says that the family was instructed by the Belmont Police to remain silent about the stalking of their daughter by Yust. She said,
We were also asked by the Belton police to drop the abduction charges against Kara’s boyfriend, just a few weeks after she vanished, as a strategy. In case her boyfriend did know where Kara was, he might be more willing to cooperate and help in the investigation if he weren’t facing criminal charges.
KSHB investigative reporter Russ Ptacek and a group of people that are known as “secret sleuths” went to a abandoned building where other evidence relating to the case was uncovered including messages spray painted on the wall that said, ‘Kara is gone” and, “Murder makes me happy”.
They also went to an undisclosed home and in the basement with the cameras rolling you can see a cadaver dog repeatedly sitting down, which is what it has been trained to do if it smells human remains.
The dogs were hitting on something, I think it is a possibility that, yes, she could be there.
The group members are fearful of retaliation by the Beckford Police Department or from the people that they believe are involved so they have continued to remain anonymous.
Kara’s parents have even allegedly been told by police that they would possibly subpoena them for interfering with the investigation
Where is Kara? Was she murdered by her violent ex-boyfriend? Did the person who said someone confessed to murdering Kara indeed murder her? Is the Belmont Police department involved in some type of cover-up?
So many questions are still unanswered.