Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week 118 - Beth Bentley still missing

Or is she?

One hundred eighteen weeks ago Beth Bentley, then 41, vanished. Supposedly, she was last seen in Centralia, Ill., after her friend, co-worker, sometime alibi, traveling companion Jenn Wyatt says she dropped her off near the Amtrak Station.

Beth was reported missing to the Woodstock Police Department on Monday, May 24, 2010, after she failed to return home from a week-end trip with Jenn.

One story is that the women were going to Wisconsin. In another story Jenn says that they went to Mount Vernon, Ill. on Thursday night. Jenn says she drove Beth to Centralia on Sunday afternoon. They were to meet back up near Woodstock on Monday afternoon, so Beth could get home before her husband got home from his office.

People assumed that Beth had taken the northbound train to Chicago on Sunday night. She would have had to get to Ogilvie Transportation Center (only two blocks) and catch the Metra to Woodstock, arriving at 2:01AM. I wondered how she was supposed to get home from the train station. Some of those people may have gone to Chicago the next week-end to post Missing Person fliers.

Then Jenn called me on June 10, 2010, and told me that Beth never intended to take the train and that she didn't even intend to spend the whole week-end with Jenn and the Ridge brothers, Ryan and Nathan.

I've always wondered why the Woodstock Police Department classified Beth an "Endangered". It did so without explanation. Woodstock PD did provide me with a textbook description of the meaning of Endangered, but it never has explained why it classified Beth that way.

There are many reasons, including health factors, medication needs, emotional reasons, personal well-being abilities, dementia risks, prior suicide threats.

Not one of those was ever used to describe Beth.

But is there one that was (and could be) more likely than any of the others?

Typically, in a missing person case the family doesn't let up on demands of law enforcement for help. Typically, law enforcement makes frequent statements about search efforts and results. I don't know of one organized search.

Yet "typical" doesn't seem to have applied in this case. Some fliers went up. They came down. Supposedly a deputy told a window cashier at the Woodstock Dairy Queen to take down the missing person flier. A restaurant owner in Harvard had taken down the missing person flier after someone told her Beth had been found. That was during the summer of 2011; I told her Beth had not been found.

What really happened to Beth Bentley? Is she really "just" missing? Or was foul play involved? Was there a reason to make Beth disappear? How many people would have been involved to make that happen?

At least one. Probably, more than one. Two? Three? Could a half-dozen be involved? Directly or indirectly?

The Woodstock Police Dept. claimed to be the lead investigatory agency, because the report was taken here of Beth's being missing. The Mount Vernon (Ill.) P.D. and the Jefferson County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office have been involved. The Illinois State Police may or may not be involved.

No one knows, for sure, where Beth was last seen. Mt. Vernon? Centralia? Woodstock?

More than one woman has told me, "I hope I never disappear from Woodstock."

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