Authorities search for killer of Beason family - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register


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Authorities search for killer of Beason family
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By AMANDA REAVY
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
Posted Sep 22, 2009 @ 11:00 AM
Last update Sep 22, 2009 @ 09:05 PM

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BEASON - Residents in this rural Logan County community remembered the lives and mourned the loss Tuesday of five members of a family found murdered in their home.

The victims were identified as Raymond Rick Gee, 46; and Ruth Gee, 39; and their children Justina Constant, 16; Dillen Constant, 14; and Austin Gee, 11.

Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols called the deaths a "brutal homicide."

A sixth member of the family, a 3-year-old girl who was not identified, survived, Nichols said, and was being treated at a hospital in Peoria.

The bodies were discovered by Logan County sheriff’s deputies and Illinois State Police inside the home at 1571 2150th Ave. in Beason, which is about 10 miles east of Lincoln, after authorities received a 911 call at 4:26 p.m. Monday.

The sheriff, at a news conference, took no questions and would provide no other information on the cause of death or whether the perpetrator is still believed to be on the loose.

He would describe the incident only as “a brutal homicide against an entire family.”

Nichols said authorities are following up leads trying to identify a suspect. He said the suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

In response to the incident, a brief community prayer service was held Tuesday afternoon at the United Methodist Church in Beason.

A support fund also was established to help remaining family members with funeral and medical expenses.

Checks with "Gee Family Fund" written in the memo line can be mailed to the Lincoln First United Methodist Church, 302 Broadway St., Lincoln, 62656.

As Beason’s postmaster for the last nine years, Jodie Duncan knows all the town’s children, including Justina, Dillen and Austin.

“This is their candy spot,” Duncan said Tuesday afternoon. Plus, it’s where the children would gather before the bus arrived to take them to school in Lincoln.

“Justina, I didn’t see her in the morning, because she was at the high school and the high school bus comes before I get here (about 7:15 a.m.) But I’d see her in the afternoon when she got off (the bus) and she recently got a boyfriend about a month ago,” Duncan recalled. “She was all excited about that, it was her first boyfriend.”

“She was one of the sweetest girls,” Duncan added. “Real quiet, but I mean, get her talking and get her and ask her about her boyfriend and there’d she go.”

Dillen and Austin would beat Duncan to the post office each morning, and Duncan said Austin liked to do his homework while waiting for the bus to arrive.

“My wife wanted to adopt him, he had this cute, curly blonde hair” rural mail carrier Bear Edwards said. His wife works in the cafeteria at Chester-East Lincoln Elementary where Austin attended.

“His voice was almost like a twang, it had a southern drawl to it. I loved to hear him talk,” Duncan said. Both he and Dillen were good kids, she said.

“Dillen was all boy and liked mischief like most boys do. He wrestled last year for the junior high. He did really good his first year and was excited about wrestling again this year. His goal was to go to state.”

The last time Duncan saw the children was on Friday before and after school. They were not at the bus stop Monday morning and by that afternoon they were found dead.

Duncan said the weight of what happened did not fully hit her until she arrived at the post office this morning, just a few blocks away from where the murders occurred, and saw no children standing there.

Raymond Gee has published advertisements in The Courier for Gee Construction of Beason, owned and operated by Raymond F. “Rick” Gee. The ads note that the company has 35 years experience in the construction business.

Regional Superintendent of Schools Jean Anderson notified The Courier about the cancellation of tonight’s Chester-East Lincoln school board meeting.

“Due to an emergency in the community, the C-EL board of education meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled …,” Anderson said.