Body recovered from Des Plaines River in Will County identified as missing Chicago pastor

A body recovered from the Des Plaines River in Will County on Tuesday afternoon has been identified as a Chicago pastor who went missing last week. 

Officials confirmed that Illinois State Police and other agencies were searching near the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in the Des Plaines River, reportedly for Rev. Warren Beard's missing SUV.

The county coroner confirmed to FOX 32 Chicago that the body was positively identified as 53-year-old Beard. 

Beard's childhood friend was with him the night he disappeared, and he spoke with FOX 32 Chicago by phone.

Emmanuel Davis said he has been friends with Beard since they were teenagers. Davis worked at the University of Saint Francis, where Beard played football.

He said the night the pastor went missing, the two were hanging out together. They had met up at a friend's house to go to the casino before returning to that friend's house.

"We met up with my friend, we sat there for a minute, and I think at about 9 something we went and picked up our other friend. Warren was like, alright man, it's getting a little late. It was probably around 9:30, 9:45, he was like, man it's getting a little late, I'm gonna go. Warren came back in. He thought he had left his phone. He didn't. He ended up finding his phone. He used the restroom. He left it by the garbage," Davis said.

That was the last time Beard was seen, in the 400 block of Broadway Avenue in Joliet on July 2.

His 2023 Black Honda HRV Sport was last spotted by a license plate reader around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday near Jefferson Street and Larkin Avenue in Joliet.

Beard's family and friends organized search parties and vigils all week in hopes of finding him.

Police continue to investigate.