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Gee Family of Five Found Slaughtered in Beason, Illinois

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm



UPDATE: Former son-in-law Christopher Harris has been arrested in the murders. See latest story here.

Investigators are searching for the persons or people who slaughtered five family members in rural Illinois, warning nearby residents to lock their doors. The bodies were found in the home of Raymond and Ruth Gee after someone reported hearing shots fired.

Both parents were found dead, as well as three kids ages 11-16. A three-year-old girl managed to survive and has been hospitalized. Another 11-year-old daughter survived because she wasn't home; she has a severe brain injury and lives in a facility in Peoria.

Police haven't released a means of death, but this isn't a family -- or a town -- accustomed to trouble. Neighbors describe the Gees as hardworking, church-going folk. Raymond worked as a handyman. Ruth was a stay-at-home mom. And Beason, an isolated farming town on the Illinois plains two hours from Chicago, isn't a place you'd expect to find a massacre. But after the slaying of a family last week in Farmville, Virginia, it appears that this can happen anywhere. We'll keep you posted...

Gee-family-truck.jpg
Police are looking for a truck similar to this one

UPDATE: The Gee family was apparently beaten or stabbed to death, and an adult daughter and her children have been placed in protective custody.

Police still aren't offering much information in the slaying, but judging by their behavior, there's a few things we can logically deduce.

First, there seems to be some concern that the Gee family was targeted. There's no other reason to explain why adult daughter Nicole Gee, who lives nearby with her two children, has been placed in protective custody. This suggests someone may have had a beef with the family, and is looking for further revenge. Then again, it could also mean police are being extra cautious in the case.

Nicole was among the first to arrive at the murder scene Monday. A neighbor boy had gone to the Gee house that day. When he knocked, the door opened and he saw all the blood. So he ran to get Nicole and another relative in this tiny town of 200 people.

And while police aren't revealing the manner of death, we can also assume the family was either stabbed or beaten to death. Despite early reports of someone hearing gunshots, investigators say the family wasn't shot. They have, however, spent the past few days searching surrounding soybean fields for a sharp-edged tool or a cylinder-shaped object, implying the family was stabbed.

Finally, police have issued an alert for a small pickup -- perhaps a Chevrolet S-10 or a Ford Ranger -- seen in Beason at the time of the murders. Residents reported seeing the truck in town Sunday, the day before the bodies were discovered. It's painted in gray primer and has chrome exhausts.

Gee-family-truck.jpg
Police are looking for a truck similar to this one
UPDATE: Police have released a photo of the truck scene in the area at the time of the massacre.

It's described as a later '80s early '90s small pickup, with a square-off front from that era of design, quite possibly a Ford Ranger or a Chevrolet S-10. It's distinguished by a paint job in primer gray, with vertical exhausts near the rear tire wells instead of where you'd usually find them near the cab.

Investigators say the exhaust pipes could have been sawed off by now, but neither the pipes nor the paint job are all that common. The truck was spotted in Beason late Sept. 20 or early Sept. 21 before the bodies of the Gee family were found.

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