Crime & Courts

No charges filed in connection with human remains possibly related to missing Woodstock woman

Jefferson County state’s attorney says no charges expected in near future

People gather for a candlelight vigil Sept. 23, 2010, on the Woodstock Square in honor of Benedetta “Beth” Bentley, a Woodstock woman who went missing in May 2010.
People gather for a candlelight vigil Sept. 23, 2010, on the Woodstock Square in honor of Benedetta “Beth” Bentley, a Woodstock woman who went missing in May 2010.

There are no immediate plans to file charges in connection with the discovery of human remains thought to be those of missing Woodstock woman Benedetta “Beth” Bentley.

In the months since police found the “badly burned” remains in rural Jefferson County late last year, questions surrounding the investigation and Bentley’s disappearance have been met with silence.

Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun said the most recent development is that a team of anthropologists had cleaned the remains and was working on extracting DNA to identify the body. He said he learned about the anthropologists’ involvement by reading newspaper articles that were written in February.

“It wouldn’t be uncommon for something like that to take a couple of months to get done,” Featherstun said, referring all other questions to police.

Representatives with the District 13 Illinois State Police Headquarters have not returned several phone calls from the Northwest Herald since December.

Illinois State Police public information officer Mike Link responded to the newspaper’s inquires with an email declining to comment on the case.

“This is still an open and ongoing investigation. No further information is available,” Link wrote.

Although it is unclear whether a positive ID has been made, Featherstun said authorities are not immediately prepared to charge anyone in connection with the investigation.

Police discovered the remains and other evidence Dec. 4 in Jefferson County and have been trying to identify the victim since.

Authorities have not specified where the remains were found or why they are believed to be linked to Bentley’s disappearance.

She was reported missing in
May 2010. In December, McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel granted Bentley’s family’s request to have her declared dead.

Bentley’s husband, Scott Bentley, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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.”

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