Details of Disappearance Bentley was last seen in Centralia, Illinois on May 23, 2010. She had spent the weekend there and her friend and coworker, Jennifer Wyatt-Paplham (often called Jenn Wyatt in press accounts), was supposed to drive her home on May 24.
A photo of Wyatt-Paplham is posted with this case summary. She initially claimed Bentley decided to take the train home a day early and she dropped Bentley off at the train station so she could catch a 6:08 p.m. Amtrak train to Union Station in Chicago, Illinois. There is no evidence that she ever boarded the train. Bentley has never been heard from again.
Authorities determined that Bentley had lied to her husband about where she was going during her weekend vacation. She told him she and her friend were visiting Wyatt-Paplham's relatives in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, the two had gone to southern Illinois together.
Bentley's husband was also unaware that Bentley and Wyatt-Paplham flew to St. Louis, Missouri over Mother's Day Weekend, two weeks before Bentley disappeared. The women separated there and Bentley spent the weekend with an unidentified man. They reunited at the end of the weekend and returned to Chicago together. Bentley didn't provide many details about the man she'd been with and Wyatt-Paplham never met him.
In 2012, Wyatt-Paplham was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, a felony punishable by one to three years in prison. She admitted she'd lied about Bentley going to take a train; her second story was that she did drop Bentley off at the Amtrak station, but Bentley had no intention of boarding any train and was going to meet a friend instead. Investigators believe she also lied when she said she didn't have contact with Bentley on or after May 25, 2010. Phone records indicate Wyatt-Paplham called Bentley's cellular phone numerous times and one call lasted five minutes, though it's unclear whether Bentley herself answered the call.
In August 2012, the charges against Wyatt-Paplham were dismissed. The judge ruled that even if she had lied, the prosecution couldn't prove she "acted with the intent to either prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person," which is what constitutes obstruction of justice.
Bentley left behind three sons. She worked as a secretary for her husband, a lawyer, at the time of her disappearance. Her loved ones stated it's uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning and they don't believe she would have abandoned her children. Since her disappearance, she hasn't used her cellular phone, bank accounts or credit cards.
At the request of her husband, Bentley was declared legally dead in December 2017. Her husband was given control over her estate. She did not have any assets and did not leave behind a will.
She is from Woodstock, Illinois, and that city's police are investigating her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.
- Woodstock Police Department
Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 1, 2018; details of disappearance updated.