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Renewed search for missing airline executive Jake Cefolia at Illinois forest preserve

Authorities in Illinois conducted a new search for missing United Airlines executive Jake Cefolia, who has not been seen alive since early August.

Cefolia, now 50, was reported missing the first weekend in August after he failed to check in at work and stopped responding to calls and messages. Concerned about his welfare, his ex-wife went to his home in Elmhurst and called police after failing to find him there. Cefolia’s last confirmed sighting was at a gas station in Elmhurst on August 7, and his car was found the next day at the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in nearby Lemont.

Investigators searched the forest preserve extensively in the days and weeks following Cefolia’s disappearance, without finding any trace of the missing father, who was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at United Airlines when he disappeared. The missing persons investigation appeared to have stalled for many weeks, until the DuPage County Forest Preserve police conducted a new search last week of the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve where Cefolia’s SUV was found.

READ MORE: Missing United Airlines exec Jake Cefolia is subject of criminal probe, police say

As NBC 5 Chicago reported, the search was focused on off-trail areas of the forest preserve, deep in the woods. DuPage County Forest Preserve Chief David Pederson told the news station that investigators decided to take another look for the missing man because the newly-bare tree branches offered new sight lines.

“Now that the leaf foliage is down, it gives us a different perspective. So, we are taking another look,” Pederson told NBC 5 Chicago. “We’re doing so because there hasn’t been any other lead, or any other information regarding Jacob Cefolia.”

Pederson confirmed to CrimeOnline on Wednesday that no new developments in the investigation prompted the search last week, which he said ended without the discovery of any evidence connected to the missing persons case. Pederson also said that the Elmhurst Police Department, the lead investigating agency in the case, arranged for the Chicago Police Department to conduct a helicopter search of the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, which, like the ground search, produced no new clues.

In September, the Elmhurst police chief told CrimeOnline that Cefolia had been the subject of a criminal investigation that began shortly before he disappeared. The police department has not publicly commented on the nature of the investigation. which so far has not resulted in any formal charges.

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