Missing pastor found dead in submerged car after a week

CHICAGO — A missing pastor was found dead in his car in the Des Plaines River, near Chicago, Tuesday night after he had been missing for a week, according to officials.

Warren Beard, 53, was last heard from on July 2 and was last seen in Joliet, Illinois, according to the Chicago Police Department. Beard was the assistant pastor at New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago.

Video footage from July 2 shows Beard's vehicle going through a gate and under a raised drawbridge before crashing into the river, Rockdale officials said at a press conference Tuesday. The vehicle was located underwater using sonar.

The road where the vehicle was seen was closed, according to officials.

Beard was found in the Des Plaines River approximately 150 yards west of Brandon Road in Rockdale, according to the Will County Coroner's Office.

An autopsy to determine the final cause and manner is scheduled for Wednesday, but the results have not yet been publicly released.

"He was the greatest person, one of the greatest men I've ever met in my life, and this is painful," New Israelite Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Chenier Alston told Chicago ABC station WLS. "We want answers. Words can't even begin to describe how we feel."

Illinois State Police is investigating the incident.

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