What happened to Jacob Cefolia? Missing United Airlines exec found dead after 1 year

What happened to Jacob Cefolia? Missing United Airlines exec found dead after 1 year
Jacob Cefolia was reported missing on August 8, 2020 (Twitter/Susan)

DARIEN, ILLINOIS: The remains of a United Airlines executive were found in a natural reserve in Illinois, more than a year after his mysterious disappearance. On Sunday, October 24, police reported that Jacob Cefolia was found hanging from an uprooted tree in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien near Chicago. He had been missing since August 8, 2020, but no trace of him was found to date, despite multiple searches across the 2500-acre dense forest. 

The 50-year-old's identity was confirmed via autopsy while his wallet, driver's license, and a backpack with personal belongings were also recovered from the scene. He was identified via dental records by a forensic odontologist. There were also clothes which he was wearing in his last seen photos. Police are not suspecting any foul play yet though the cause of his death is yet to be ascertained. 


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In the past few months, the mysterious disappearances and deaths of Gabby Petito and her fiancee Brian Laundrie have led to the discovery of the bodies of nine other missing persons. However, the body of Jacob Cefolia was not found as part of the nationwide search for Gabby or Brian. 

Cefolia's body was discovered by contractors, who were in an area south of a campground frequented by youths. The area is covered with a thick canopy of large trees, thick briars, and dense vegetation, which made searches difficult in the interior of the natural reserve. 

Confirming the news of his death, DuPage County Forest Preserve Chief David Pederson said, "On behalf of the Forest Preserve District, I would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We hope this at least bring closure to his family and friends.”

In August 2020, Cefolia was reported missing by his ex-wife Kristine. Prior to his disappearance, he seemed to be behaving normally with his friends and family. However, he suddenly stopped responding to Kristine's calls sometime around the first week of August. He even missed picking up his twins from her house as scheduled. Two days after he was last seen at his Elmhurst home, Kristine reported him missing. 

His car was found abandoned in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve within a few hours of searching. Later, the police revealed that Cefolia was under a confidential criminal investigation. Police continued combing the forest thoroughly for six months in search of him but he was not found, that is, until recently.

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