Robert Bee was a 13-year-old boy who went missing from his home in Pekin, Illinois, on November 17, 2016. He was last seen by a truancy officer who came to his house to issue a ticket for skipping school. He fled on his bicycle and never returned. His disappearance sparked a massive search effort by the police, the community, and the media, but no trace of him was found for nine months. On July 24, 2017, his skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area about 11 miles from his home, and his death was ruled a homicide. However, the cause and manner of his death remain unknown, and no suspects have been identified or arrested. This article will explore the life and death of Robert Bee, as well as the investigation and the challenges of his case.
## Robert Bee’s Troubled Life and Disappearance
Robert Bee was born on July 10, 2003, in Peoria, Illinois. He had a mixed ethnicity of Irish and German descent, and he grew up in a Catholic family. He was known by his nickname “Bonsai” to his friends and family. He had a difficult childhood, as he suffered from abuse, neglect, and bullying. He lived with his mother, Lisa Bee, who had a history of drug use, mental illness, and domestic violence. His father, Robert Bee Sr., died in March 2017, and he had little contact with him. He also had two older sisters, who were estranged from their mother and lived elsewhere.
Robert Bee was a sixth-grader at Wilson Intermediate School in Pekin, where he struggled academically and socially. He had a learning disability and a speech impediment, and he was often teased and harassed by his classmates. He also had a history of truancy and running away from home. He was reported missing several times before, but he always came back or was found by the police. He had a few friends, who described him as a kind, funny, and adventurous boy, who liked to ride his bike, play video games, and watch cartoons.
On November 17, 2016, Robert Bee skipped school and stayed at home. Around 10:30 a.m., a truancy officer and a police officer came to his house to issue a ticket and take him back to school. Robert Bee ran away on his bike, and the officers did not chase him. His mother reported him missing the next day, when he did not show up for school again. She gave conflicting accounts of his whereabouts and activities the night before, and the police considered the afternoon of November 17 to be the last time he was seen.
The police launched a missing person investigation, and classified Robert Bee as an endangered runaway. They searched his neighborhood, interviewed his family, friends, and acquaintances, and followed up on hundreds of tips and leads. They also enlisted the help of other local, state, and federal agencies, such as the FBI, the Illinois State Police, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They distributed flyers, posters, and billboards with his picture and description, and offered a reward for any information leading to his location. They also used social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to spread awareness and solicit tips from the public.
The community also rallied behind the search for Robert Bee. Many volunteers joined the search efforts, organized vigils, fundraisers, and awareness events, and donated money, food, and supplies. They also created a Facebook group called “Missing – Robert Bee Jr.”, which had over 18,000 members, and a website called “Find Robert Bee Jr.”, which provided updates and resources on the case. They expressed their concern, support, and hope for Robert Bee and his family, and prayed for his safe return.
## Robert Bee’s Death and Investigation
However, the search for Robert Bee ended in tragedy on July 24, 2017, when his remains were found in a wooded area near the 14300 block of Route 29, about 11 miles south of his home. A homeowner spotted some bones in his backyard, which he thought were from a deer. He called the police, who searched the area and found more bones scattered in the brush and woods behind an abandoned shed. The police suspected that the remains belonged to Robert Bee, based on the location, the size, and the clothing. They also said that the remains had been there for a long time, and that an animal had moved some of them.
The police secured the scene and collected the evidence, and sent the remains to the Tazewell County Coroner’s Office for identification and examination. They also contacted Robert Bee’s mother and informed her of the discovery. Two days later, the coroner confirmed that the remains were those of Robert Bee, based on dental records. Two months later, DNA tests from Robert Bee’s parents also verified his identity. The coroner ruled his death a homicide, but could not determine the cause or manner of his death, due to the advanced state of decomposition and the lack of soft tissue.
The police changed the status of the case from a missing person to a death investigation, and said that they were treating it as a murder. They also said that the property where the remains were found was owned by a woman who lived nearby, and who had a relative who was involved in the investigation. They did not reveal the name or the relationship of the relative, but said that the property was relevant and pertinent to the case. They also said that they had several persons of interest, but no suspects or arrests. They asked the public to continue to provide any information or tips that could help solve the case.
## Robert Bee’s Legacy and Challenges
Robert Bee’s death was a devastating and shocking outcome for his family, friends, and community, who had hoped and prayed for his safe return. His mother, Lisa Bee, was grief-stricken and heartbroken, and said that she wanted justice for her son. She also faced criticism and suspicion from some people, who questioned her role and responsibility in his disappearance and death. She published an obituary for her son, stating that he “was pronounced dead at 3:15 p.m. Monday, July 24, 2017, in Pekin.” She held a memorial visitation and a private family service for him, and received his death certificate and his remains from the coroner.
The community also mourned and honored Robert Bee, and expressed their condolences and sympathy to his family. They held vigils, memorials, and fundraisers for him, and donated money, flowers, and cards. They also created a memorial site for him near the location where his remains were found, and placed crosses, candles, stuffed animals, and other items. They also continued to support and follow the investigation, and demanded answers and justice for Robert Bee.
However, the investigation into Robert Bee’s death faced many challenges and difficulties, such as the lack of evidence, witnesses, and suspects, the long time span between his disappearance and his discovery, and the complexity and sensitivity of the case. The police said that they were working diligently and meticulously on the case, and that they were pursuing every lead and angle. They also said that they were cooperating and collaborating with other agencies and experts, and that they were using the latest technology and techniques. They also said that they were committed and determined to solve the case, and that they would not give up or close the case until they found the truth and brought the perpetrator to justice.
Robert Bee’s cause of death remains a mystery, and his case remains unsolved. He was a young boy who had a troubled life, and who met a tragic end. He was also a loved and missed son, brother, and friend, who touched and inspired many people with his spirit and personality. He left behind a legacy of hope and awareness, and a challenge of justice and closure.