Remains found in downstate Illinois identified as Woodstock woman missing since 2010

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois State Police announced Tuesday they have identified the remains of a Woodstock woman who was missing for nine years.

Authorities confirmed they identified the body of Benedetti "Beth" Bentley, who was found dead in downstate Jefferson County in December 2017.

Bentley, 41 at the time, went missing in 2010.

Police said Bentley told her family she was heading to Wisconsin with a friend, but investigators found she had headed downstate with that friend.

She went missing on May 23, 2010 after she was dropped off by a friend at an Amtrak station in Centralia, Illinois to head back to her home in Woodstock. Police said Bentley never boarded the train.

Woodstock Police Department Chief John Lieb worked on the case from the beginning of the investigation.

"There were just so many questions that weren't being answered," Lieb said. "We had to work with several law enforcement agencies and other institutions to find some of those answers to those questions."

Illinois State police found "badly burned" human remains in December 2017, in Jefferson County.

Police and prosecutors questioned Bentley's friend on account of her disappearance and obstruction of justice charges were filed. However, they were dropped when police found that Amtrak had no record of Bentley ever buying a ticket or boarding a train.

After years of vigils and searches, neighbor Debbie Keyzer said she's happy the family finally has closure.

"Just, you know, rest in peace - it is a sad story," Keyzer said. "It's been ongoing for years, and I am just thrilled there is some closure for the people that care about her."

In December 2017, McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel granted Bentley's family's request to have her declared dead.

Police documents related to the case have been sealed and are not available to the public - the case technically remains open.

ABC7 reached out to Bendetti's husband Scott Bentley, who still lives in Woodstock, but no one was home. The couple had two sons.

Police are reminding the public to contact authorities immediately after anyone they know goes missing.

"If anybody goes missing, friends, family they need to report it right away, and we will start looking into it as soon as we can," Lieb said.
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