Body Found Near Shopping Center

A kid made a gruesome discovery while looking for a missing family member in East Peoria.

Preston Jefford, 12, was helping his family search for Jeff Kennedy in the woods behind Fondulac Plaza on Wednesday. Kennedy, who suffers from schizophrenia, has been missing for a few days. His family, which says Kennedy often hangs around the shopping center on Washington Street, was combing the woods in hopes of finding him.

But instead of finding Kennedy, Jefford came across a badly decomposed body.

"I saw bones, like on a chest, like ribs," Jefford told 1470 & 100.3 WMBD. "I asked my mom, 'Is that what I think it is?'"

Investigators at the scene say the body had likely been out there for quite some time. While they could not positively identify the body, they are certain it is not Kennedy. An officer said Kennedy was seen by an employee at one of the Fondulac Plaza businesses just a day or two ago, not enough time for decomposition to reach the point it had in the case of the body found Wednesday.

An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Meanwhile, Kennedy's family is still looking for him. If you know where he is, they ask you to contact police immediately.

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