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State

Mother questions law enforcement's search tactics after body discovered in woods

A volunteer hands out flyers Sept. 2 for missing Huntley man, Aidan Beckford. Beckford's body was discovered Saturday in a wooded area near the spot where he was last seen alive. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning.
A volunteer hands out flyers Sept. 2 for missing Huntley man, Aidan Beckford. Beckford's body was discovered Saturday in a wooded area near the spot where he was last seen alive. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning.

HUNTLEY – The mother of 18-year-old Aidan Beckford, whose body was discovered Saturday afternoon in a wooded area in Nunda Township, says her son might never have been found if it weren’t for a volunteer and his dog.

“My sons body was found yesterday,” Jody Beckford wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. “To end any false stories that may be out there, he was found in the wooded area in the exact area he went in. The same area police told me numerous times he could not be in because it would be too difficult to get into...”

On Saturday, the mother watched as police entered the densely wooded area to retrieve Aidan Beckford’s body, she said. The McHenry County Coroner’s Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy today.

Jody Beckford organized at least two independent community searches for her son, who was reported missing Aug. 30 near Nish Road and Highview Drive. More than 1 week passed before the Huntley teen’s body was discovered in the same area.

“I told everyone throughout the last week that I believed he had not left the area and he was still very close. I was right,” Beckford said. “You can all take what you want to decide for yourself how you feel the police did in searching for him...”

The mother spent hours during a search party Monday combing the area with a neighbor’s scent tracking dog. Family members who helped search for the Huntley teen believed then that he was in the immediate area.

Jody Beckford thanked all the volunteers and local businesses who helped search for her son. The mother was especially grateful to the Nunda Fire Department for “being so thoughtful yesterday and the last week.”

“And thank you to the man with the dog who offered to take Aidan’s scent and entered the woods to find him,” Jody Beckford wrote. “If you had not done that Aidan may not have been found. That only happened because as his mom I organized a search when police were not. Something that a parent going through their worst days possible should not have to be doing.”

During Saturday’s search, volunteers worked to check locations that had not previously been checked by law enforcement and several volunteers brought drones to search the area by air. Searchers put green ribbons around the area to remind people to keep searching. Green is the color of missing children and mental health.

Authorities and volunteers on Saturday searched the many fields in the areas between Nish Road, Route 176, Barreville Road and Wright Road, in the general area where Beckford was last seen.

On Wednesday, law enforcement agencies and nearly 60 people searched the area for Beckford, including the adjacent Fox River.

Wednesday’s search efforts included a marine unit, K-9, thermal imagers, and a drone

Police said at the time that there was no threat to the public and “no indication of foul play.”

Neither the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office nor the coroner’s office could immediately be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.

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