Human remains found at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County identified as those of United Airlines exec missing since last year



Human remains found by contractors at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve near Darien on Friday afternoon were determined to be those of Jacob Cefolia, a United Airlines executive who had been reported missing in August 2020.

In a news release Sunday, the DuPage County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy had been performed, and Cefolia was identified through dental records. But the cause and manner of death was undetermined and remained under investigation.

Cefolia’s remains were found “hanging by a belt from an uprooted tree,” the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Law Enforcement Department said in a news release Sunday. Personal items including a wallet and driver’s license were recovered.

DuPage Forest Preserve Police Chief David Pederson said Cefolia was found in an area that had been searched “multiple times” but that had “a dense tree canopy, very thick briars and dense vegetation.” There were no signs of foul play, he added.

The body was found Friday in DuPage County south of a campground for youth groups, Pederson said.

Elmhurst police were also notified as there was a missing persons report filed with the department for Cefolia on Aug. 8, 2020. Cefolia’s vehicle was found parked outside Waterfall Glen that same month, but he was never found after a search that included multiple law enforcement agencies, volunteers and trained bloodhounds.

At the time of his disappearance, Cefolia was senior vice president of worldwide sales for the United Airlines, overseeing 725 people.

“On behalf of the Forest Preserve District, I would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” Pederson said in Sunday’s news release. “We hope this at least bring closure to his family and friends.”

The Forest Preserve District is leading the death investigation.

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