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Autopsy of missing Huntley teen determines cause of death

Aidan Beckford of Huntley had been dead no more than 36 hours when volunteers found his body last month near a marsh in Nunda Township, interim McHenry County Coroner John Miller said.

An autopsy performed Sept. 9 determined Beckford died from inflammation and bleeding in his stomach and intestinal tract. Environmental hypothermia also contributed to the 18-year-old’s death, according to the autopsy report.

There were no traces of drugs or alcohol in Beckford’s system, toxicology results showed.

The kind of inflammation and bleeding that killed Beckford can occur when certain kinds of bacteria enter the body, although it was not immediately clear how it developed in the young man, coroner’s office representatives clarified.

In addition to several abrasions likely suffered when Beckford jumped from a moving vehicle and a bruised lung, his medical history indicated Beckford had depression, the autopsy report showed.

Beckford reportedly was last seen alive Aug. 30 when he jumped out of a moving vehicle in the area of Nish Road and Highview Drive, according to the autopsy report.

Police, family and volunteers searched for the former Huntley High School student for days without success.

After more than a week of searching, Ramona Bitterman of McHenry and her adult son, Chris Justes, found Beckford’s body Sept. 8 in a marsh near the corner of Nish Road and Highview Drive, Bitterman said.

The mother and son were searching a densely wooded area near where Beckford was last seen when Bitterman heard her son say, “Aidan is right here, Mom.”

“We walked right into where that boy was,” Bitterman said.

Another volunteer with a scent-tracking dog was close behind and came across Beckford’s body about the same time.

Officials with the McHenry County Coroner’s Office, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and Nunda Rural Fire Protection District were sent to the area to recover the body, which later was identified as Beckford.

During previous search parties, police and volunteers combed the fields in the areas between Nish Road, Route 176, Barreville Road and Wright Road, in the general area where Beckford was last seen.

The sheriff’s office and several outside agencies also searched the area with boats, police dogs and drones in the week after Beckford’s reported disappearance.

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