Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beth Bentley - now gone 195 weeks

"Big Daddy" asked some very good questions in his comment on my article about the new flier in the Beth Bentley case.

In today's article I'll write about his comments and dissect the new flier from the Woodstock Police Department.

In the new flier the Woodstock Police say that Beth was reported missing by "her friend" and a family member. Jennifer Wyatt's is not mentioned at all in the flier. Jenn was Beth's "friend" who reportedly traveled with Beth to southern Illinois on the fateful week-end.

Why would the police not state which family member reported Beth missing? Does it matter? Yes, it might well matter. Why are the police being vague and less transparent about this? The assumption could be that Beth's husband reported her missing, but did he? Or did a different family member call the Woodstock Police?

For the first time the Woodstock Police explain the escalation of Beth's status from Missing to Missing Endangered. The new flier may erroneously state that Beth was "originally entered" in LEADS as "Missing Endangered". The first Woodstock PD flier read Missing; Endangered was added later, but it was never explained.

"Big Daddy" asked, "Is there any evidence of foul play?" Now, for the first time, the Woodstock Police reveal that Missing Endangered in the LEADS system was the "...result of her purported prescription and illegal drug use while she was visiting the Mt. Vernon and Jefferson County area of southern Illinois."

Were valuable investigative opportunities lost by withholding that information for over 3½ years? What can happen during "illegal drug use"? Emotions can get out of control. Behavior can become erratic. Blame and criticism can escalate. A person could OD. Anyone around the person who OD'ed could panic and make a very bad choice to hide (dispose of) a body.

There is no certainty that Beth herself was in southern Illinois. Her phone was; but was she? If a family member talked to her, they would have no way of knowing where she was or even where her phone was. One story is that she had said Jenn and she were going to Wisconsin. Supposedly she telephoned her husband on Sunday shortly after 4:00PM and informed him she was in southern Illinois and would return on Monday. But that call was shown as a 2-minute call in cell phone records, so it could have been anywhere from 61 seconds to 120 seconds. Not very long to explain where she was and why she was there and when she'd be home.

Did Jenn tell the Woodstock Police that Beth intended to take the northbound train shortly after 6:00PM on Sunday, May 23, 2010? Or did she say only that she dropped Beth off "near" the Centralia (Ill.) Amtrak Station. And then many assumed she was going to take a train to Chicago. On June 10, 2010, Jenn told me that Beth never intended to take a train.

Some in this area doubt that Beth was ever really in southern Illinois. What proof is there? That her cell phone was there is not proof enough. What do Ryan Ridge and Nathan Ridge have to say? Did they give statements to Woodstock officers who went to Mt. Vernon? Or statements to any other law enforcement agency?

Why have I been hard on the Woodstock PD? Because they claimed the lead investigatory role, even though they are more than 300 miles from the location of her reported disappearance. And Mt. Vernon PD and the Illinois State Police have deferred to Woodstock. I too wonder why the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wasn't the lead agency. The Ridge house, which was reportedly the Thursday night destination of Beth and Jenn, is in Jefferson County, Ill., well outside Mt. Vernon.

Did Beth ever really talk to any person after Thursday evening, May 20? Phone records indicate many short calls. Were they all answered electronically, rather than live?


Bloody Williamson said...

I just recently became aware of "The mystery of Beth Bentley". I find this case both very interesting and one-sided. I have these questions:
1. How can she be considered missing from a location, if it cannot be proven she was ever "physically" at that location?
2. Why hasn't her "attorney" husband, who obviously has the means, not became more involved in her search?
3. I also find it compelling "BFF" Jenn Wyatt was also employed by Beth's attorney husband at one point. Has anyone "investigated" him and his phone records? Appears they had a very unconventional marriage.
4. Where did the newly publicized "drug use" come from?

These are just a few of the questions I have, after reading various Facebook posts.

Gus said...

BW, thanks for your comment.
1. Police have never said how they confirmed that Beth was ever "physically" in southern Illinois;
2. Immediately after a 2010 Woodstock gathering raised $4,000, her husband went to Las Vegas to search for her. It is unknown whether he provided Woodstock Police with his itinerary or any list of contacts and results;
3. RE the phone records, yes;
4. For the first time Beth's "purported ... illegal drug use" is mentioned by police. Why not until now - 3½ years later?

Big Daddy said...

Gus, I'm not sure if you are complaining about the Wood Stock PD not putting the information about her addiction to drugs and who notified the police of her being missing on the flier. I do not see how any of that would be important for the public to know and I do not believe that it would hamper the investigation. reading what you posted here I had thought that her actually being in southern Illinois had been confirmed not only through family members but telephone GPS records as well. When I say that I'm not talking about simply her cell phonb records indicating that it was used down there, I'm talking about family members saying, "yes, we talked to Beth at 6:00 on Sunday night (pick a date) and then THAT date and time being confirmed via cell phone GPS records. Obviously cell phone GPS cell phone hits do not mean it was her using the phone down there.
What do you mean Wood Stock PD took the lead in this matter? How could they? She didn't disappear from Wood Stock, she disappeared from downstate. Correct? And what about Jenn's cell phone records? Have they been looked at? I would assume so.
I'm afraid that this case will not be solved until Beth's body is found or she decides to return home.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, unless Beth's purported illegal drug use is NEW information, it could have been helpful for the public to know about it sooner. Obviously, the police would not disclose an ongoing drug investigation (MCSD does things differently). Asking the public to identify illegal drug users, suppliers and dealers in Beth's circle of friends and acquaintances might have been helpful sooner.

No one really knows who actually spoke with Beth on that week-end. Phone records show many one-minute calls; those probably went to voice mailboxes.

Phone records are still being scrutinized by interested, non-law-enforcement persons.

Why did WPD claim the lead? Because she was a Woodstock resident? I agree that, IF she really disappeared in southern Illinois, then an agency there should lead the investigation.

The whole train story was a red herring. Notice the 2/12/14 press release says that the friend "originally" reported ... Did she change her story to police, after she told me on 6/10/12 that Beth never intended to take a train?