United Airlines executive Jacob Cefolia went missing more than a year ago. On Sunday, human remains were found hanging in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien, Illinois. Those remains were identified as Cefolia following an autopsy.
The New York Post reported that Cefolia, 50, was hanging by a belt in the preserve and that his wallet and driver’s license were found at the scene. A backpack with personal belongings was also recovered. Clothing that matched what Cefolia had been wearing when he disappeared was also found, and “foul play is not suspected,” the outlet added.
“Cefolia was reported missing on Aug. 8, 2020. His vehicle was found parked outside the nature preserve, but his body was never found despite a major multi-agency search of the 2,500-acre (4-square-mile) forest,” the Post reported. “Police said the area had been searched multiple times. The area has a dense tree canopy, very thick briars and dense vegetation, and was not near where police found Cefolia’s vehicle parked, police said.”
Cefolia’s body was identified by dental records.
“On behalf of the Forest Preserve District, I would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” DuPage County Forest Preserve Chief David Pederson said on Sunday. “We hope this at least bring closure to his family and friends.”
The news release from the county said the death is part of an ongoing investigation and was discovered by contractors working in the area.
On Monday, People reminded readers that Cefolia had been under criminal investigation when he disappeared, though the outlet did not know what, specifically, he was being investigated for. The outlet originally reported on the criminal investigation in February, months after Cefolia was first reported missing by his ex-wife, Kristine. The outlet recounted friends saying Cefolia seemed normal in the weeks before he disappeared. On July 24, for example, a friend who texted with Cefolia said his demeanor was “Warm, friendly, upbeat and talking about the future.” People Continued:
Just two weeks later, however, Cefolia’s own future turned upside down. After the 49-year-old father missed picking up his teen twins from ex-wife Kristine Cefolia for his scheduled night with them—and wasn’t responding to any of her calls—she contacted police. “This is totally out of character,” she said in a 911 call reporting him missing on Aug. 8, two days after he was last seen in his Elmhurst, Ill., home. “Something’s just absolutely not right.” In a matter of hours Cefolia’s car was discovered abandoned in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in nearby DuPage County. Police—who later revealed that Cefolia was under criminal investigation for reasons they would not identify, citing the open case—fanned out to search the area but came up empty-handed. Six months and multiple searches employing dogs, drones and helicopters later, Cefolia’s whereabouts are still a mystery, and his loved ones are left without answers. “It’s so strange,” says friend Kevin Iwamoto. “Here we are months later, and there’s no new information. That’s what makes this unsettling. There’s just no closure.”
The outlet noted that Cefolia’s behavior became “erratic” prior to his disappearance, who just days before tried to reconcile with an ex-girlfriend. That ex told the outlet Cefolia had been drinking heavily from stress. Cefolia didn’t show up for work the next day, missed an appointment with a realtor selling his home, and missed a night with his children. He didn’t respond to text messages during that time.
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