Tazewell County Coroner James “Jeff” Baldi announced this morning that the skeletal remains found on July 24 in the 14000 block of Illinois Route 29 are those of 13-year-old Robert B. Bee Jr.
The findings of the Illinois State Police Forensic Laboratory’s Forensic Biology Section in Morton were released by Baldi at 5:34 a.m. Saturday via a press release.
Baldi said Friday that he has been in “Regular contact with (Bee’s) mother, who has been in rehab,” and that she would be notified immediately of the findings of the DNA testing when results were in. Baldi confirmed Saturday that the family has been notified.
Baldi said this has become a story of national interest. He said he has several messages on his desk from CNN Legal Commentator Nancy Grace. Trucks 4 Kidz, a team of volunteers who search for missing or runaway children, came to Pekin and searched for Bee. Posters and billboards were prevalent during the time he was missing.
After the remains were found in July an autopsy was performed that determined the general age of the deceased, but more testing was needed to conclusively identify the remains, said Baldi at the time. The remains were scattered on a wooded lot, most likely by animals, police reported at the time.
Bee ran from a truant officer at his home at 233 Sapp St., on Nov. 17, 2016. The home is about two miles north of where the remains were found. Bee’s mother told police the following day that he had not come home. He was missing approximately eight months before the remains were found.
The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department, Pekin Police, the Illinois State Police and Baldi’s office continue to investigate.
Baldi said there is not further information available at this time.
Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin