JEFFERSON COUNTY — Authorities are saying there are no immediate plans to file charges in connection with the discovery of human remains in rural Jefferson County thought to be those of missing Woodstock woman Benedetta “Beth” Bentley.
Questions raised since law enforcement found “badly burned” human remains late last year near Saddle Club and Miller Lake roads have largely gone unanswered.
Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun, however, tells the Northwest Herald the most recent development is that a team of anthropologists had cleaned the remains and was working on extracting DNA to identify the body and that process could take several months.
The Illinois State Police is declining at this time to comment on the case.
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 why they are believed to be linked to Bentley’s disappearance.
Bentley was in the Mt. Vernon/Centralia area with a friend in 2010 when the friend said she dropped Beth at the Amtrak station in Centralia so she could catch a train home. But Amtrak had no records of Beth buying a ticket, and no one recalled seeing her in the vicinity.
The wife and mother of three boys was never seen or heard from again. 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.”