Theories abound but no real leads on missing Pekin boy

By Holly Eitenmiller For Chronicle Media

Robert Bee, 13, has been missing from his Pekin home since November 2016.

Rumors continue to flow about the 13-year-old Pekin boy, who went missing Nov. 17, 2016.

Robert, who has red hair, was last seen wearing a red and gray shirt, blue jeans and red Nike shoes. He was not carrying a cell phone, and had no money. No family or friends have since reported having any contact with the youth. His sister, Stephanie Clauser, said Robert takes medication for seizures and ADHD.

He could have colored his hair and is wearing colored contacts. He was said to have been seen in Springfield. In an April 3 post to LinkedIn’s “Pulse,” Carri Williams, a self-proclaimed “Psychic Detective” from Woodstock, Ill. claims she dreamed someone named “Kevin” was involved in Robert’s disappearance and that she knows where he will be found by his father.

No matter how far-fetched some ideas may seem, it’s clear most sources seem to have good intentions, and are holding out hope that Bee will return safe and sound.

“We all want him found,” Susie Kemper posted recently on “The Official Finding Robert Bee Discussion” Facebook closed group page. “Right Susie. He’s like our adopted kid,” responded Jan Bridgmon.

The page, launched in December 2016, has three administrators and hosts 3,126 members, most of whom seem to have little or no previous kinship with Robert or his family.

Conversations and debate continue daily on the page, along with frequent unsubstantiated rumors and theories.

Robert’s father, Robert J. Bee, died March 8, 2017 as a resident of Kindred Hospital. The 64-year-old was ill and living in an assisted living center well before his death.

In what appears to be a March 29 post written by Robert’s mother, Lisa Bee wrote, “I got a update on my son today he was seen in Springfield getting out of a truck with two guys.”

That post, however, cannot be found on any of Bee’s three Facebook profiles, and his sighting is unconfirmed.

Of the tips from the public, none have had the teeth to warrant a payout of the $1,000 reward Peoria Crime Stoppers routinely offers for a solid lead in a case, according to Pekin Police Investigations Sgt. Seth Ranney.

“It’s just one of those cases and people want answers and we want that worse than anything,” he said. “We follow tips until they’re exhausted. It takes a lot of man hours, but we have a duty to run those down.”

One such tip was that of Jennifer Gordon, who, in January told state and local police in good detail that Robert was witnessed entering his house at 233 Sapp St., and that she and neighbors believed it must be searched.

The house at 233 Sapp St. in Pekin remains vacant, at least since Feb. 27 when landowner Gregory Gianessi was granted a Judgment of Possession in Tazewell County. Lisa Bee and her son Robert Bee Jr. lived in the home at the time of his disappearance in November 2016. Bee vacated the house before the eviction, according to an eight-minute video she posted to Facebook two days before the judgment, claiming she was a resident in a drug rehabilitation home. (Photo by Holly Eitenmiller/for Chronicle Media)

It was a lead Pekin Police chief John Dossey said was “deliberately false,” and Gordon admitted to that. A glut of responses quickly followed, with one person claiming a child’s body was also discovered in south Peoria. Ranney said no children’s bodies have been discovered in central Illinois since Robert was reported missing, and Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood confirmed none were found in Peoria.

Still, public interest continues to thrive, and the case has been featured on national crime reporter Nancy Grace’s Facebook page and written about on In the meantime, the State of Illinois Missing and Endangered Persons’ poster of Robert has begun to appear in public places, such as Walmart.

There are no indications that the 4-foot-6, 110-pound boy was abducted, which is why an Amber Alert was never issued. Ranney would not confirm if the police have any suspects, and the Sapp Street house has been turned over to its owner, Gregory Gianessi.

LIsa Bee was evicted from the home in March, though she had vacated the premises earlier, according to a Feb. 25 video in which she describes her life in a residential drug rehabilitation clinic. The video was self-produced and there is no confirmation that Bee had moved to a clinic. Nevertheless, the house is now vacant.

“We have done searches,” Ranney said. “The house is released to him to clean up. You would have to have something major to hold it indefinitely.”

The bicycle that, until recently, lay unmoved in the front yard there is gone, and his mother’s whereabouts remain largely unknown. Many of those following the case question Bee’s involvement in her son’s disappearance and are suspicious of her lack of enthusiasm in his search.

On April 21, Bee launched a Facebook group titled, “Help me share nationwide to bring my son Robert Bonzai Bee home to his mom.”

When questioned on a post there what Robert might do if he returned home to an empty house, she responded, “My number has changed he knows how to go to my old neighbor and get police department they have my new number got kicked out of house.”

There have been no posts or comments in the group from his mother since April 21. It is not known if she is actually responsible for launching the group, or if it is yet another hoax.

Bee failed to appear at a Jan. 3 truancy hearing at the Tazewell County Courthouse, and was found guilty in her absence. A total of $386 in unpaid truancy-related fines remain unpaid.

Her reports that Robert stayed the night with friends Nov. 17, then walked to the bus stop the next morning are unconfirmed.

CrimeStoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to Bee’s whereabouts, and will continue to accept anonymous tips. Anyone with information about Robert Bee is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 673-9000 or the Pekin Police Department at 346-3132.


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