Identification of Woodstock woman's remains prompts calls for justice
Burned human remains discovered downstate nearly two years ago have been identified as those of a Woodstock woman who disappeared in 2010.
Benedetta "Beth" Bentley, then 41, vanished that May after going to downstate Mount Vernon with a friend. The friend reportedly dropped Bentley off at an Amtrak station in Centralia so she could return home, but she never arrived.
A mother of three, Bentley was reported missing soon after. Illinois State Police have said Bentley never bought a ticket or got on a train.
Accused of lying to police, the friend was charged with obstructing justice in 2012, but the charges were dropped later that year, McHenry County court records indicate.
Woodstock police and state police announced in December 2017 that information developed in the case led investigators to human remains in rural Jefferson County. Other evidence was found there, too, police said at the time.
With Bentley's remains now identified, the case has been turned over to the Jefferson County state's attorney's office for review, state police said in a news release.
State's Attorney Sean Featherstun couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.
Jefferson County Coroner Roger D. Hayse declined to release any information about the cause of Bentley's death, saying he hasn't yet spoken with her family. Hayse said he expects to release some details by next week.
Members of a Facebook group dedicated to Bentley's case expressed sadness over the confirmation of her death. Some wrote messages of condolence to Bentley's family.
Others called for justice.
Bambi Pickard, a Missouri woman who runs the Facebook group with a friend of Bentley's, said she was happy authorities finally have identified the Woodstock woman's remains.
"It's bittersweet," Pickard said.
"It's been a long time. I never dreamed it would take this long."
Pickard said she hopes the development "is going to start giving us some answers" about what happened to Bentley.
"They must have something else," she said.