Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Small towns are murder

Front page at CNN.com right now: Five found killed in Illinois home:
Five members of a family were found slain in their Beason, Illinois, home, authorities said Tuesday, and they urged people in the area to be cautious until the killer is found.

"This was a brutal homicide against an entire family and we are determined to identify and arrest those responsible," Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols said in a news conference.

He said authorities received a 911 call about a possible shooting at the home shortly before 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET) Monday. When law enforcement officials arrived, they discovered the five bodies, Nichols said.

He identified the dead as Raymond Gee, 46; Ruth Gee, 39; Justina Constant, 16; Dillon Constant, 14; and Austin Gee, 11.

One survivor, a 3-year-old girl, is in a hospital in Peoria, Illinois, he said. He did not identify the girl.

The sheriff did not release the manner of death, but said autopsies were under way Tuesday.

He warned people in the area to be cautious. . . .
Around Beason? Beason? Here's Beason. It's about about eight miles east of Lincoln, Illinois, and has (just guessing) fewer than 200 residents. I know Beason, and this is not the Beason I know.

More from the Bloomington (IL) Panty-Raid:
Police remained outside the Gee home on Broadway Street on Tuesday and, as the day went on, police canine and equestrian units joined a ground search of soybean fields just north of the home and on the south edge of the town along Broadway Street. The Logan County canine unit spent more than an hour walking the boundaries of the Gee property before focusing on the field adjacent to the home.

The Beason Fire Department served as a command post for the emergency crews from multiple state and local agencies called to help with the search. A state police crime scene trailer was parked in the driveway of the home, where investigators worked through the night.
That's a local(ish) paper. The Trib's top front-pager has a little more:
Relatives of a family found slain in a small Downstate town have been taken into protective custody as authorities search for the killer or killers.

A source close to the family say police fear the family may have been targeted and other relatives could be at risk.

The bodies of Raymond and Ruth Gee, and children ages 11, 14 and 16 were found Monday by a neighborhood boy who came to the family's home in Beason, near Springfield, after school and noticed a large pool of blood on the floor, the source said. . .
Beason is not near Springfield; it's about 40 miles northeast, but what the hell, Chicago's another country.
Sheriff Steven Nichols isn't saying why his office didn't release information about the slayings until today. He does say detectives are working to identify possible suspects. And he describes whoever is responsible for the killings as "armed and dangerous." . . . .

Throughout Beason today, residents gathered on porches to talk about the killings.

Dale Day, who lives a few blocks from the home where the bodies were found, said he would arm himself Tuesday night to be ready for any trouble that might come his way.

"Now I have my 9mm loaded, cocked and ready to fire if someone breaks into my house," Day said.

Some residents said they had never considered locking their doors at night.

"Not many people lock their doors here," said Brittney Fillmore, 14, who knew both Justina and Dillen from high school. . . .

Two of the children killed, Justina and Austin, attended an area Bible club this summer, said Jordan Peck, who led the club. Both children were attentive and polite, and Justina had become a born-again Christian recently.
Jaysus. Despite the horribleness of the crime, the only reason I bring it up is that my great-great grandfather, George Gelsthorp, was one of the founders of Beason in 1872. In fact, if you look at the google-earth type map linked above, we still own a little hunk of land precisely north of Beason and just across Route 10. The father of the guy who farms it for us lives in the first house north on that north-south road. Coincidentally, and perhaps luckily, he's in Denver right now.

All this from my sister Sabra, who lives in Springfield (not close to Beason), and who adds that there were a total of ten kids in Beason who took the bus to Lincoln schools every day; now, three of them are dead. She also told me that rumorors in Lincoln say that the cops are looking for a 13-year-old boy as the killer.

This is why I live in the big city. Safer here.

Update: Earlier farmacology here.

Update II: Oddly, the D-blog fambly also owns a teeny hunk of wheatland between Garden City and Holcomb, Kansas.

Update III: One of these days I'll post about how I came home one night when I was a kid (just out of high school) in Lincoln and found my mother tied up, beat up, and (probably) raped by a (probable) serial killer.

Update IV (9/23/09): Pantagraph: Victims weren't shot; FBI profilers on the job; cops looking for a gray pickup. Sis says (wild) Lincoln rumors are that victims were stabbed in the eyes, etc., but 13-year-old-kid theory has been discarded.

Update V: They were killed with the all-purpose "blunt object" (didn't Billy Mays sell those on cable?):
LINCOLN --Rick and Ruth Gee and three of their children died of blunt-force trauma, police said Thursday afternoon, as investigators formed a special task force to find the killer.

More than 100 tips have come into a special hot line set up to aid the investigation, police said at Thursday's press conference.

Police also confirmed that Tabitha Gee, 3, the lone survivor of the Beason attacks who also suffered blunt-force trauma injuries, was in critical but stable condition at a Peoria hospital.

But police declined to say what object (or objects) they believe was used to kill the family.

But police were looking for a sharp-edged tool and/or a cylinder-shaped object in connection with the deaths, The Pantagraph learned earlier Thursday.
This is starting to bite. Unless they're playing things closer to the vest than usual for these sorts of investigations, the cops, FBI, etc., don't seem to have much. They've been searching very closely in the D-blog fambly's beanfields.

Update VI: Uh-oh: "Logan County sheriff: 'We are not going to quit'"

Update VII (9/27/09): Panty-Raid: "Attacker possibly wounded in struggle during Beason slayings"; and the inevitable "Beason residents remaining cautious while trying to look forward" and "Shattered innocence":
BEASON -- Beneath a sprawling tree in a yard on Broadway Avenue is a simple lettered sign: Life is better in Beason. Once upon a time, maybe. Today that's less certain.

Just a block down the street, the boarded-up home of the Raymond "Rick" and Ruth Gee family is a stark reminder of the brutal killings of the couple and three of their children, whose bodies were found Sept. 21.

The deaths may be the first homicides in the unincorporated Logan County town of 150 since the shooting of a grocery store burglar by a night watchman nearly a century ago. . . .
Update VIII: Man, I had a completely wrong picture in my haid of what the exhaust pipes looked like (according to at least one witness) on the fabled gray-primered truck. I just assumed they came out the back end in an odd place. I'd sure as hell notice those semi-tubes on a pickup.

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