More than 60 area people volunteered within one day to join an out-of-town group’s second search later this month for young Robert Bee, the group’s leader said Tuesday.
Anthony Accardi said he expects that total to rise before his St. Louis-area group returns to Pekin on June 25 in search of Bee, 13, who was declared missing from his Sapp Street home on Nov. 18.
“I have no idea,” he said, how many will volunteer to join the team from Trucks 4 Kidz Missouri and Illinois, a non-profit group that brought 13 trained searchers to comb the south Pekin area Saturday.
“My phone (has kept) ringing” since he posted his group’s request for volunteers on Monday, Accardi said.
The group searched woods and “knocked on some doors” in its first effort, Accardi, 26, said. He declined to comment on whether it produced any significant information about Bee’s whereabouts or where the next search will cover.
It will, however, include the use of professionally trained dogs, he said. A family emergency prevented the dogs’ handler bringing them to the search Saturday.
The June 25 effort will possibly produce the largest single search party for Bee since the boy ran from his house on Nov. 17 when a truancy officer came to take him to school. His mother declared him missing when the officer returned for the same reason the next day.
Police have conducted several controlled searches in wooded and rural areas, and smaller groups of local volunteers have also combed through much of the city’s south side and adjacent areas for clues of Bee’s fate. An award offered by the Pekin Police Department for significant information remains available.
Accardi, who said his group has found 37 runaway children in the St. Louis area within two weeks of their disappearances, said those wishing to volunteer for the June 25 search must do so through the group’s Facebook page.
He will soon announce on that site where the volunteers will meet. City police, again, will not take part in the search, Accardi said, but will be kept notified of the volunteers’ efforts and possible findings.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin