Human Remains Found in Forest Identified as Missing United Airlines Executive Jake Cefolia
The DuPage County coroner has positively identified the remains of United Airlines Executive Jake Cefolia after he was reported missing over a year ago.
According to a press release issued Sunday, Cefolia's remains were found in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Lemont, Ill., about 25 miles outside of Chicago.
Authorities were able to positively identify 50-year-old Cefolia through dental records, though a cause and manner of death is still under investigation. DuPage Forest Preserve Police Chief David Pederson said there were no signs of foul play, and the matter is part of an ongoing death investigation.
Cefolia was found hanging by a belt from a tree, Pederson said. Cefolia's wallet, driver's license, and a backpack with other personal belonging were also found at the scene, police said.
On Friday, the DuPage Forest Preserve District Police said in a press release that they were called out to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, after contractors stumbled upon what appeared to be human remains.
Pederson told NBC 5 Chicago that workers were removing invasive species in the area when they found "human remains hanging from a low hanging tree."
"The human remains were located in a very thick covered brush area, extremely, so you can be 10 feet away and not see it," said Pederson. "Obviously the foliage is starting to drop this time of year, these contractors were working in a very thick area..."
The United Airlines executive was first reported missing in August 2020, after his ex-wife Kristine Cefolia told authorities that he failed to show up for his night with the kids. His car was found hours later, parked outside Waterfall Glen — an area he was said to frequently run and hike.
An extensive search that included blood hounds and multiple law enforcement agencies turned up nothing at the time.
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Police reports say that days before Cefolia went missing he was in talks to sell his house, but failed to show up for a meeting with his realtor.
According to NBC 5, a law enforcement source revealed to the news outlet that the divorced dad of two was under investigation during the time of his disappearance, but wouldn't share any further details.
According to LinkedIn, Cefolia was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales for United Airlines, after nearly 15 years with the company.