After eight years of questions and investigations, authorities are slightly closer to answering what happened to a 41-year-old Woodstock woman last seen in the Mt. Vernon area.
Benedetta “Beth” Bentley was last accounted for on May 23, 2010. Beth had been staying in the Mt. Vernon area when a friend reported dropping her off at the Amtrak station in Centralia. She was never seen again.
Investigators say no one with Beth’s name bought a ticket at the train station and no one has seen or heard from her since.
In February authorities unearthed “badly burned” human remains near Saddle Club and Miller Lake roads, the area where Bentley had been staying when she disappeared.
Experts are still working to positively identify the remains, but in December, a McHenry County judge 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.
In a Nov. 28 motion, Assistant Attorney General Brian Janet wrote that allowing the records to get out “could result in any parties responsible for Ms. Bentley’s disappearance avoiding prosecution.”
Beth was the first of a string of people to go missing from the area.
On April 22, 2011, 75-year-old Vincent Wesselmann was last seen possibly walking near Breese Grain Company at N 1st Street and N Walnut Street. Vincent has not been seen since.
That July, 28-year-old Jared Hanna, of Jerseyville, Illinois, went missing. Jared was last seen the morning of July 2, 2011 at his home.
His truck was found abandoned and out of gas on July 4th, 2011 on Jolliff Bridge Road, in rural Centralia.
On April 23, 2014, 63-year-old James “Jimmy” Romines was last seen by his neighbor around noon at his Centralia apartment.
Megan Paige Nichols was last seen July 3, 2014, in Fairfield, Illinois, in Wayne County. Shortly after the remains were found in Jefferson County, another set of human remains was found in Fairfield. Those have been positively identified as belonging to Megan.
Friends and families of the missing ask that you contact authorities if you have any information.