PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — A disappearance and death many in pekin are trying to find answers to; Robert Bee Jr. was last seen running from a truancy officer in 2016 and his skeleton remains were found just months later.
Four years after Robert Bee Jr.’s skeleton remains were found, Pekin community members gathered Saturday afternoon and said the police are failing to do their job. Ash Patino organized a protest Saturday and said Pekin’s police have had long enough.
“Things in the beginning were missed right off the bat; he went missing in November and searcehs didn’t start right away,” Patino said. “Why are we waiting a month and a half to search for a 13-year old boy who has seizures.”
The community and Robert’s family want a fresh set of eyes on the missing boy’s case; they’re demanding Pekin Police hand the case over to Illinois State Police. Stephanie Bee, Robert’s sister said she feels Pekin’s police have failed her.
“I feel along with a lot of us feel, Pekin Police have given up.” Bee said.
The group of about two dozen walked the perimeter of the police station, held signs, chanted and honked horns, making their presence known. Bee said it’s been a rough four years with no closure.
“Bonzai was failed when he was alive and he deserves justice now,” Bee said. “He shouldn’t be failed now that this has happened.”
Patino a New Jersey filmmaker found out about the case on social media. She directs “The Disappearance of Robert Bee, a YouTube series that highlights the entire case. Patino said she found investigations as her specialty after directing a similar documentary.
“Why are we waiting for a confession and why aren’t we looking at other avenues of what could’ve actually happened to Bonzai,” Patino said.
Bee’s family is left searching for answers in 2020 and won’t give up hope of closure.
“We fought DCFS, we fought his mom and we’re going continue to fight this battle,” Bee said.
The Pekin community wants to know the person responsible is no longer a threat.
“There’s a dead boy and no one in jail for it. I don’t understand; how are we safe?” Patino said.
A Pekin Police spokesperson sent WMBD a statement on the protests that reads: “The Pekin Police Department Investigations Division contacted the Illinois State Police (ISP) Zone 4 Investigations Division within days of Robert Bee going missing in 2016 and requested assistance with the investigation. ISP Zone 4 Investigations Command and Special Agents have assisted with numerous facets of the investigation and have continued to assist throughout the investigation. Pekin Investigations Command and Zone 4 Command continue to collaborate on the investigation, which is still ongoing.”
Anyone with information about the death of Robert Bee is encouraged to contact the Pekin Police Department or CrimeStoppers.