DuPage County

Human Remains Discovered at Suburban Forest Preserve Identified as Missing United Exec

Jake Cefolia was reported missing on Aug. 8, 2020

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Human remains discovered at Waterfall Glen forest preserve Friday have been identified as Jake Cefolia, the United Airlines executive who went missing last year, according to officials.

DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen identified Cefolia, 50, after an autopsy performed Saturday, though a cause and manner of death have not yet been determined and remain under investigation, according to a release.

A forensic odontologist confirmed the remains to be Cefolia's after examining his dental records, the release said.

DuPage County Forest Preserve Police said they were notified late Friday morning by a contractor at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve that potential human remains had been discovered in the 700-acre site.

The contractors were removing invasive species in the area when they came across "human remains hanging from a low hanging tree," said Chief David Pederson with the Forest Preserve District Police.

The forest preserve was the same location where Cefolia's car was found after he was reported missing.

Cefolia was reported missing on Aug. 8, 2020.

Cefolia’s Range Rover Sport was discovered parked in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 outside the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Darien. An avid runner, Cefolia used to run and hike the trails at the 700-acre forest.

Once the missing person’s report was filed, DuPage County Forest Preserve Officers identified Cefolia’s car. Police reports say that a COVID face mask was hanging from the steering wheel, a grey pullover was left in the back seat and a golf bag with a set of clubs and $120 in cash were found in the trunk.  

A search team with bloodhounds were put together using Cefolia’s pullover and a pair of glasses as scent for the dogs to search the woods. The bloodhounds tracked the scent south-east from where the SUV was parked but lost the scent 20 yards in and stopped, according to police reports.

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