On October 17, 2017 at approximately 1:17 p.m., a local farmer discovered personal effects and human remains in a field while harvesting soybeans and called 911. The location was west of Effingham County 1000th Street, approximately ¾ of a mile south of US Route 40 near Funkhouser.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Office responded along with the Effingham County Coroner's Office. The Illinois State Police Division of Crime Scene Services were contacted to assist in the investigation. After an extensive search and processing of the area, the body and personal effects were removed for later examination.

On the morning of October 18, 2017, an autopsy was conducted at St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital. Using dental records on file, investigators and the forensic pathologist were able to determine the identity of the body as Erik Douglas Nelson, age 52, of rural Effingham.

Mr. Nelson had been reported as missing by his family on July 25, 2017 at the Effingham County Sheriff's Office. The Effingham County Sheriff's Office conducted a thorough investigation into Mr. Nelson's disappearance; but, eventually, all leads in the case were exhausted.

The cause and manner of death of Mr. Nelson have yet to be determined. This case remains under investigation; however, authorities conducting the investigation do not suspect foul play.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Effingham County Coroner's Office and the Illinois State Police Division of Crime Scene Services.