Body of missing South Side pastor is pulled from Des Plaines River near Joliet, officials say

The Rev. Warren Beard was last seen July 2 driving in Joliet. Search crews found his body inside his car in the river Tuesday near Rockdale.

SHARE Body of missing South Side pastor is pulled from Des Plaines River near Joliet, officials say
Rev. Warren Beard wears a grey T-shirt and smile while standing in front of red and white holiday decorations.

The Rev. Warren Beard of New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago went missing July 2 after visiting friends in Joliet.

Provided by family

The body of a missing South Side pastor was found Tuesday inside his car in the Des Plaines River in Will County.

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The remains of Warren Beard, 53, were found in the river about 150 yards west of Brandon Road in southwest suburban Rockdale near the Brand Road Lock and Dam, according to the Will County coroner’s office.

Beard, a father of five, was last seen July 2. Family said he had been visiting friends in nearby Joliet, where he had attended college. He was last seen about 10 p.m. when a license plate reader recorded his black Honda HRV in the 400 block of North Broadway Street, family said.

Overhead shot of the Des Plaines River with the drawbridge raised and emergency workers wearing yellow vests visible on the far bank

Crews searching the Des Plaines River in the village of Rockland in Will County on Tuesday found the body of the Rev. Warren Beard inside his car.

WGN-TV

Army Corps of Engineers officials contacted Rockdale authorities Tuesday morning to report that a car was seen on surveillance footage driving into the river about 10:47 p.m. July 2. Rockdale fire officials said at a news conference Tuesday that search crews began scouring the river about 11 a.m.

Beard was an assistant pastor for six years at New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church, 1625 W. 75th Place. He also worked as a director at Preservation of Affordable Housing Communities.

Yowanda Beals hugs a supporter and is surrounded by other people after speaking at a news conference at New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church.

Yowanda Beals hugs a supporter after speaking at a news conference Monday at New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church to discuss the search for her 53-year-old husband, the Rev. Warren Beard. He was last seen July 2 in Joliet.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Beard’s loved ones had pleaded for answers from Chicago and Joliet police on his whereabouts during a news conference Monday.

Warren’s wife, Yowanda Beals, and his oldest son, Shane Beard, said the assistant pastor was a family man and loved by the entire congregation.

Chicago police will lead the investigation because he was missing out of Chicago.

Contributing: David Struett

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