Beth Bentley, 41 when she went missing somewhere in Illinois on the week-end of May 20-23, 2010, is a mystery.
Some people care.
Some people, who never knew her, care.
Some don't care.
Some - well, are they afraid to care?
Or, are they just afraid?
Some think she disappeared from Centralia, Ill., where her friend, co-worker and week-end traveling companion and admitted sometime alibi, says she dropped Beth off near the Amtrak station. Since Jenn Wyatt said that Beth "never intended to take the train", the presumption is that Beth was going to hook up with someone in Centralia and then meet Jenn on Monday back near Woodstock, so they could return together and Beth could get home before her husband, Scott Bentley, got home from work that day. At least, that's what Jenn told me on June 10th.
Some think she may never have gotten out of Woodstock on the evening of May 20th.
Others think "something" happened to her in Mount Vernon on May 21 or May 22.
Who cares about Beth? And says so? Mostly, people in southern Illinois and a few in McHenry County who never knew her. And a few who did.
Are there some who don't care? Well, I met some yesterday. I guess, for now, they can remain nameless. I'm sure they'd prefer that. They are in a position to help. They won't. It wouldn't even cost them anything. But they'd have to do
something. It would take about 15 minutes. But they won't.
Now, to the next group. Some who care - who probably do care. But who might be afraid to show that they care. Or who might have information that would help with the investigation, but who are afraid to provide it.
Who might they be? They know. They'll read this. Consider this...
If you are "dirty" yourself, you might be afraid to speak out. Let's say, as a hypothetical case, that Beth died from an overdose. And then those around her panicked and hid her body. Fourteen months ago. Let's say they know where Beth got the drugs, or at least that she did. Maybe they shared in using the drugs, at that time or at another time. They could
provide information, but then they might get charged. Like, with drug use or possession, or with concealment of a body. So they keep quiet. And they hope the others keep quiet.
Or maybe they are told to keep quiet. Who might tell them to keep quiet?
Somebody else who was there. Someone else involved in using. Or supplying. What if they are threatened with harm, if they talk? Or, what if someone threatens one of their children? (probably worse than threatening the parent)
What if they tell their attorney? Must he turn them in? If it's a past crime, then he would be a defense attorney and the information might be subject to attorney-client privilege. While he might have a legal obligation to report plans for a future crime by his client to police, he might be able to avoid having to report knowledge of a past crime. Would that include a death, concealment of a body, supplying drugs that resulted in a death?
Or maybe there are other people close to Beth who are drug users. They could be afraid to speak out, because they risk being exposed for their own drug use. Whether they use cocaine, heroin or marijuana, it's all illegal. And, of course, they cops are going to ask them where they got it. Locally? Maybe right here in Woodstock? Yeah, folks. Right here in Woodstock!
There are more holes in the story of Beth's being missing than in a brick of Swiss cheese. Most likely, she is not "just" missing. Yet the Woodstock Police continue to call this an Endangered Missing Person case, but without disclosing why "endangered" applies. Nothing has ever been released to indicate that she was "in danger", or that she left without an adequate supply of any prescribed medications, or was in need of ongoing medical treatment, or had any mental or emotional diagnosis (dementia? bipolar? OCD?).
Some thought Beth was pregnant and expecting by the end of 2010. And then that she'd show back up in Woodstock, with or without baby in tow, and just say, "Hi, folk. I'm back. Miss me?" Well, we can cross off part of that one now.
What will it take to convert this case from Missing Person to a crime investigation? Are facts or evidence needed? Or is a reasonable opinion of experienced law enforcement professionals enough? Could they say, "Based on evidence (or lack thereof), we believe a crime has been committed"?
Could a key person soon slip away and get out of reach? Is it time to start pulling people back in for "interviews" and punching holes in the first stories they told?
Will a lawyer say, "Don't talk. You might be a suspect." Over how many heads might a net like that fall?