Friends and family of a missing Missouri woman who are still actively searching for her have found human remains from an unrelated case for the second time in two weeks, authorities said.
Relatives of Jessica Runions uncovered the body of an unidentified man in a small embankment while searching fields and brush near South Brighton Avenue at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday, The Kansas City Star reported.
“Two bodies two weeks in a row?” John Runions, Jessica’s father, told The Star, which was covering the search when the discovery was made. "It’s unbelievable."
Relatives and volunteers were searching a Kansas City creek bed last Saturday for any sign of 21-year-old Jessica when they found the decomposing remains of Brandon Herring, officials said.
The death of the 21-year-old man, who was last alive on November 22, is now being investigated as a homicide.
Herring's family had reported him missing when he failed to come home for Thanksgiving.
The young man, known affectionately as “Mac Bear,” leaves behind an infant son, King, who turns two months old on February 7, and a close family for which the discovery of his body was bittersweet.
“I already knew my son had already gone home to God... but the selfish part of me just wanted confirmation and closure,” Herring’s mother, Rhonda Herring, told InsideEdition.com after his body had been found.
The body discovered this Saturday has not yet been identified. Kansas Police told The Star they are investigating it as a suspicious death.
“It is awful a family searching for their loved one finds two victims during their search, in one week’s time,” said Kansas City Police Capt. Stacey Graves. “Although this is a strange turn of events for those searching, I am very thankful the victims have been found for their families’ sake."
Jessica Runions was last seen September 8 leaving a gathering of friends in south Kansas City, officials said.
Her burned vehicle was found two days later in a nearby wooded area. Kylr Yust, 27, who had been questioned in the 2007 disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, Kara Kopetsky, was charged with burning the vehicle.
A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Kopetsky was 17 when she went missing. She had filed for an order of protection against Yust days before she disappeared on May 4, 2007.
Yust hasn’t been charged in either disappearance.
Runions’ family has spent nearly every week since her disappearance combing through secluded areas for any sign of the young woman.
The discoveries of the past two weekends serve as proof that their work is important, the Runions family told The Star.
"We’re not going to stop looking until we find her," John Runions said. "And if we find other people along the way, that’s good. Families deserve closure."
Janice Runions, Jessica’s great aunt, echoed his sentiments, saying: "Someone’s loved one was found. I just wish someone or we would find ours."