The mother of 18-year-old Aidan Beckford, whose body was discovered Saturday afternoon in a wooded area in Nunda Township, said her son might never have been found if it weren’t for a volunteer and his dog.
“My son’s 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 Monday.
Aidan Beckford was reported missing Aug. 30, after the teen took off on foot in the area of Nish Road and Highview Drive, according to a news release the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office sent last week. The area consists of a residential neighborhood and several portions of dense, wooded land and marshes. Missing person flyers with Aidan Beckford’s photograph and information stated family was concerned for the young man’s safety and well-being because of his mental state.
Jody Beckford organized at least two independent community searches for her son, which began in the Nish Road-Highview Drive area. More than one week passed before the Huntley teen’s body was discovered nearby.
“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.
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.
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.
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, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.
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 be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.
Jody Beckford thanked all the volunteers and local businesses who helped search for her son. She 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.”
Aidan Beckford previously attended Huntley High School, where counseling and support services will be made available to all students and staff, according to a letter Principal Marcus Belin sent parents Sunday.
“If you feel that your child is having difficulty, we encourage you to discuss their thoughts and feelings to help them work through their grief and concerns,” Belin wrote. “Please maintain awareness of your child’s communications such as social media, phone, email, and text messaging to further assess their potential need for assistance.”