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United Airlines Executive’s Skeletal Remains Found In Illinois Nature Preserve

"We were sad to hear the news about our former colleague Jake and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” a spokesperson for United Airlines told Oxygen.com in a statement regarding the discovery of former airline executive Jacob Cefolia's remains in Illinois. 

Jake Cefolia Pd

The skeletal remains of a United Airlines executive were discovered at a suburban nature preserve in Illinois on Friday, according to officials.

On Oct. 22, authorities recovered Jacob Cefolia’s body from Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, about 23 miles southwest of Chicago. Contractors made the discovery, according to the Associated Press.

Cefolia was found hanging from a belt attached ti an uprooted tree, officials confirmed. His wallet, as well as his driver’s license, and backpack were also recovered from the scene. He was reportedly wearing clothing that matched a description of what he was last seen wearing prior to vanishing last year.

A forensic odontologist, who examined the 50-year-old’s dental records, confirmed the airline executive’s identity. An autopsy was performed on Cefolia over the weekend, however the cause and manner of his death hasn’t yet been released.

Officials don’t suspect foul play in Cefolia’s death.

“On behalf of the Forest Preserve District, I would like to send our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” DuPage County Forest Preserve District Police Chief David Pederson said in a statement. “We hope this at least [brings] closure to his family and friends.”

Richard A. Jorgensen, the DuPage County Coroner, confirmed on Monday that no additional information was immediately available.

Cefolia was reported missing to Elmhurst police on Aug. 8, 2020 by his ex-wife after he didn’t pick his children up for a scheduled visitation, the Associated Press reported. 

His Range Rover Sport was located by Waterfall Glen the same day. A note to his family was found in the SUV, officials said. Investigators also located a golf bag, a set of clubs, and $120 in cash in the trunk of the vehicle, NBC Chicago reported.

According to authorities, the last purchase logged on his credit card was for gasoline at a Shell station in Elmhurst, Illinois, which totaled $59.50.

A widespread search of the 2,503-acre forest preserve, which included several police agencies, search dogs, as well as search and rescue volunteers, turned up no clues as to his whereabouts. 

Cefolia often ran outdoors, traversing the expansive trails in the forest outside Darien, Illinois.

Cefolia worked as a vice president of worldwide sales for United Airlines. He’d been employed by the airline since 2007, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Cefolia, who flew across the globe for work, visited Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, and London during business trips for the airline. 

“We were sad to hear the news about our former colleague Jake and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” a spokesperson for United Airlines told Oxygen.com in a statement on Monday afternoon. “And we remain grateful for the support and prayers that so many of our employees — including Jake’s co-workers — have shared with one another and on his behalf over the past year.”

No further information was released by law enforcement this week.

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