Monday, March 20, 2017

What really happened to Beth Bentley?

What happened on May 20, 2010?

Woodstock resident Beth Bentley, then 41, left Woodstock for the last time. Beth and her friend, Jen Wyatt, drove to Mt. Vernon, Ill. And she never returned.

Speculation continues on what happened to Beth. Somebody knows. More than "one" somebody quite likely know. Some of those "sombodies" might still be right in Woodstock or in McHenry County. The list could number 12 or more.

So far, nobody has cracked. But they will. One of these days...

A new investigative effort is occurring and can be following on Vanished in Illinois. Visit its website at www.VanishedinIllinois.com

There are many articles on this blog about Beth Bentley. I wrote weekly about this case for an extended period of time. She should not be forgotten. It is just not okay for this case to linger in the cold-case files at the Woodstock Police Department.

Woodstock PD claimed leadership in this case after her missing person report was filed with it by family members on Monday, May 24, 2010. But it probably should not have the lead police agency , because Beth was reportedly (although not necessarily reliably) last seen in Centralia, Ill. The house that was the destination that Thursday night was in Jefferson County, Ill., outside the limits of Mt. Vernon. Since Woodstock is 300+ miles from Mt. Vernon, it would quickly become too time-consuming and too expensive for Woodstock to conduct a thorough investigation.

Why is this time, now, important in this case? Beth's disappearance will hit the seven-year mark this year, and this is often when a missing person can be presumed dead. There were rumors in 2010 of a large insurance policy insuring Beth. Once she is legally dead, then a claim can be made on that policy.

Whether an insurance company will pay to a beneficiary could be up in the air. If an insurance company believes that it should not, then it might, instead, pay the policy proceeds to the State of Illinois (to demonstrate its willingness to meet the terms of the policy) and then throw the responsibility onto the State of Illinois to determine whether the named beneficiary is entitled to the proceeds.

Such a contest might then become public record, whereas direct payment by an insurance is usually confidential. Public record would then reveal whether or not there was a large policy, who bought it, who sold it and, importantly, when it was issued.

All of this leads to more questions.

8 comments:

Big Daddy said...

If she lived in Woodstock and that is where the police report was made, Woodstock is and should be the lead agency unless kidnapping is alleged. They can travel to Mt.Vernon ior anywhere else they want to investigate it. Oh they can contact the Mt.Vernon Police or the County Sheriff in Mt Vernon for assistance but they remain the lead agency unless someone else finds the body. Right now it appears to be a Missing Persons report.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, as a police officer with years of experience, you know more about this than I do. Woodstock PD is still withholding information, relying on the FOIA exemption of an open case. I wonder when anyone last blew the dust off the file.
Where are they going to get "new information" that might help them solve this case? I say "solve" it, because I don't believe that Beth voluntarily took off and disappeared.
I believe those who partied with her know what happened. Did she OD at that house near Mt. Vernon? Did someone get angry and lash out? Did Woodstock PD attempt to get medical records from her local doctor(s), in order to learn of any conditions that might call for treatment?
I recall there were some, though, who thought she never left Woodstock that Thursday night. That's why I thought the Tollway cameras should have been checked, if/when the rental car passed through the I-Pass toll points. Were two women in the car? Who was driving? If I recall correctly, Jenn did not have a valid driver's license.

Big Daddy said...

I don't know anything about this case or if Woodsock is witholding info. They could be because the general public doesn't need to know everything and if the do suspect foul play there are things you need to keep out of the public eye for investigative purposes. And of course there is always the competency of the investigator. Not saying that he/she is incompetent but not everyone is as good as we would like them to be. I know policemen that I would beg,borrow or steal to get them on my case if I were ever a victim. I also know others that I would beg,borrow steal to keep them away from my case.

Gus said...

I believe the Mt. Vernon PD and the Jefferson County SO were involved in a limited way and that the Woodstock PD was hampered by the 300-mile distance and the expense of sending 1-2 detectives to Mt. Vernon and the house in Jefferson County for enough time to conduct a thorough missing-person report or determine whether a crime had been committed. There were plenty of red flags to attract attention. There are other factors that I'll refrain from posting publicly.

Big Daddy said...

Gus, a 300 mile journey to solve this case should not be dismissed. We send guys all over the country if need be to solve a case IF there is a good reason for it. But the key word is IF.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, if a PD is not actively working a missing-person case, how long after the last meaningful activity can it be de-classified as an active case? Is it really a "cold case" if they cannot declare that a crime was committed? Let's guess, for example, that drugs were in play that week-end in the Mt. Vernon area. Did police (here or there) attempt to run down users and dealers? Did they "shake the tree" to see what fruit would fall? Supposedly, Beth told Scott in a 2-minute phone call on Sunday that she was in Mt. Vernon, not in Wisconsin, and taking the train home Sunday night. Jenn's claim was that she dropped Beth near the Centralia Amtrak station on Sunday afternoon. That would have gotten Beth to Woodstock at 2:00AM Monday. How seriously did police consider the fact that there were so few telephone calls on that Monday afternoon, as Jenn returned from Mt. Vernon without Beth? Motive. Means. Opportunity. Considered?

Big Daddy said...

The case will remain open until there is some resolution to it. If she turns up alive it will be closed of course. If a body is found it will be reclassified to the appropriate classification. As far as "shaking the tree" of drug dealers that would be done if foul play was a consideration. Absent that, probably no. The problem as I see it sitting here in my home is that people take off the time and disappear on their own for whatever reason. It doesn't rise to the level of a crime having been committed. People on the edges of the investigation or the family are absolutely convinced that something bad happened to the missing person when in fact they just wanted to leave. Not saying that is what happened here but the Police are not going to treat every single missing person case as a homicide or even a crime unless something points in that direction. I've seen this many times before. Take suicides as an example. The deceased is very depressed and cannot handle it anymore and off's himself. The family doesn't know about the depression and is absolutely convinced that he was murdered and would never,ever commit suicide even when the facts indicate that is what it is. Once again, not in every single instance but much more than you think. Hope this helps.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, thanks. We could speculate until the cows come home, and it won't change anything regarding Beth's disappearance. Eventually, someone with knowledge may decide to "get right" before s/he dies and reveal what happened.

In the meantime, she will have been gone seven years (since May 22, 2010), and I foresee a legal action to have Beth declared dead. Then life insurance monies can be claimed. Payments to Beneficiaries are usually confidential, but then her Estate may have to be administered, especially if the life insurance company is reluctant to pay to a named beneficiary. Public record may then get involved, if the insurance company pays to the State of Illinois and tells the State to determine who the legal beneficiary is.