Sunday, August 7, 2011

Beth Bentley - gone 63 weeks now

Sixty-three weeks ago Beth Bentley vanished. Forty-one years old, mother of three sons, wife, legal secretary and office manager in her husband's McHenry (Ill.) law firm, friend to many and, apparently, ATM to a few, she was on a week-end jaunt with a female friend and ... she didn't come back!

The Woodstock Police call it a Missing Person case. In fact, they call it an Endangered Missing Person case, but without any specific reason, geared to Beth herself, as to why the case is labeled Endangered.

Since it's not a criminal case, I filed a FOIA request to inspect the documentation in the case. The City of Woodstock denied my request, and I filed a Request for Review with the Public Access Counselor (PAC)  in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. The PAC wrote to Woodstock and requested supporting information for its denial of my request.

The PAC received Woodstock's response dated June 28 but "forgot" to send it to me. I followed up with the PAC at the end of July and received it. Then I wrote back on August 1, questioning the claim by the City of Woodstock (on behalf of the police department) that "it is not possible to determine with certainty whether this is a criminal case until the investigation has been completed."

How's that for buying time? I was born at night, just not "last night". The investigation will never be completed until Beth walks back in the door or her body is found. In missing-persons' cases the police are often very public and solicit the help of the general public. In this case? A announcement-type poster on the PD's website. I do not know of even one press conference. And the City Council has been non-responsive to raising public awareness.

Woodstock provided the PAC with no evidence of recent activity. I suspect it will need to do that and that the PAC will not accept "We're still working hard."

I went to the library today to re-read the statement in the June police department report to the City Council. Unfortunately, the Woodstock Library is closed on Sundays during the summer. Watch for that statement tomorrow. (You won't know any more tomorrow after reading it, just as the City Council learned nothing from reading it.)

I believe there are at least half a dozen people in Woodstock who know exactly where she is. Are some of them going to start talking? If you are reading this and you know something, the sooner you speak up, the easier it will go on you. The first one to crack might even get immunity.

Get yourself a good lawyer and protect yourself. You're going to need a lawyer who will represent you and only you. Choose a lawyer who is not representing anyone else who is involved in her disappearance or any cover-up.

And, if you want to talk to me, I'm easy to contact.

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