Charlotte King has a simple message for her grandson. She calls him by his middle name, Bonzai, but the area knows him as Robert Bee Jr., the 13-year-old reported missing in Pekin almost three weeks ago.
“I just want him to know I’m here and he can call me,” King said Tuesday.
She is not sure he knows her telephone number. But he knows where she lives, King said of the home on Peoria’s East Bluff she shares with Bee’s uncle and older brother. She just wants him to contact her, somehow, and let her know he’s okay.
“I’ve been worried sick, I just want him home safe.”
Bee’s disappearance has stymied the Pekin Police Department since Nov. 18, when his mother, Lisa Bee, reported him missing. According to published reports, authorities were about to give her a truancy ticket, which can range from a $100 fine for a first offense to a mandatory court appearance for a third.
A day earlier, the boy ran when a truancy officer, accompanied by a police officer, visited their Pekin home. The Police Department, through CrimeStoppers, is offering a $1,000 reward for information about Bee’s whereabouts.
King, 64, has her own theory about her grandson’s status.
“I don’t think anything has happened to him. I think he’s just out there and scared and doesn’t know where to turn.”
King doesn’t know where to turn, either.
Her relationship with Robert’s mother, her daughter, has always been difficult, she said. But it got worse during a stint when the two families lived together in Peoria. King said she hasn’t talked to or seen her daughter and grandson in three years. She learned of his disappearance through news media. Between rumors spread on social media and the police department’s hesitancy to release information about the investigation, King doesn’t know what to think. “We’re dealing with so much hearsay.”
But her grandson’s safety matters most, she said.
“I’ve just been so worried about him, I just want him home,” she kept repeating.
Her son, Jeff McCall, 36, and another grandson, also named Jeff McCall, 17, sat with King as she talked. The younger McCall, Bee’s brother, has lived with King since he was young. The living room walls are covered with family photos, including pictures of the two brothers together.
Though it could not be confirmed Tuesday night, King and the older McCall said police have searched their East Bluff home at least twice. “I welcomed them because I’m worried sick,” King said.
Peoria police searched the house about the same time Bee was reported missing, the older McCall said. A Pekin detective visited the home late last week, according to the two.
“We don’t have him, I wish I knew where he was at,” King said.
As recently as Tuesday, King said a Pekin detective told her there was no new information on the case.
Bee’s grandmother and uncle described an energetic, fun-loving boy who loved video games and being outdoors. But the boy they knew also took medications for seizures and hyperactivity, which adds to King’s anxieties.
“The days are just adding up and there’s no sign of him,” she said. “It’s just unreal.”
Pekin Police ask people with information that could lead them to Bee to call 346-3132 or CrimeStoppers at 673-9000.