Remains of missing United Airlines exec recovered in Illinois forest preserve, coroner says

DARIEN, Ill. — Remains found Friday in an Illinois forest preserve have been identified as those of Jacob Cefolia, a United Airlines executive reported missing more than a year ago, the DuPage County coroner confirmed Sunday.

The remains were found by contractors working at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, WLS-TV reported.

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DuPage County officials confirmed to WGN-TV that an autopsy was performed Saturday on Cefolia, but neither the cause nor manner of death has been determined.

Cefolia, 50, was reported missing to Elmhurst police in August of 2020, and his vehicle was found parked outside Waterfall Glen, near where the remains were found, yet extensive searches involving multiple law enforcement agencies failed to reveal his location until Friday, WLS-TV reported.

DuPage County Coroner Dr. Richard Jorgensen confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times that dental records were used to positively identify the remains.

Meanwhile, DuPage Forest Preserve Chief of Police David Pederson told the newspaper that Cefolia’s wallet, driver’s license and a backpack with his personal belongings were also found at the scene, and no signs of foul play were detected.

“On behalf of the Forest Preserve District, I would like to send our sincere condolences to (Cefolia’s) family and friends. We hope this at least [brings] closure to his family and friends,” Pederson stated.

According to the airline, Cefolia had worked for United since 2007, and as senior vice president he oversaw “sales programs, services, relationships and revenue with corporations, travel management companies and distributors around the world,” the Sun-Times reported, citing a previous interview.