PEKIN — One month to the day since a teenage Pekin boy seemingly vanished, his friends, family and supporters who have connected through social media came together for a candlelight vigil Saturday despite deteriorating winter weather. They prayed for the safe return of Robert Bee, Jr.
“My children played with Robert all the time,” said Wilfred Younger, one of the supporters at the vigil. “He would come over to our house every day.”
The group previously held a vigil for Bee just two weeks ago. The boy, described as 4-feet-6-inches tall, weighing 110 pounds and with red hair, was last seen Nov. 17 wearing a red and gray shirt, jeans and red Nike shoes.
T-shirts and fliers detailing the boy’s disappearance have spread throughout the region and beyond state lines.
Investigators with the Pekin Police Department have followed local leads, organized search parties and enlisted the help of outside agencies. Police, however, have advised the public against unorganized search parties, as it could endanger searchers in the midst of deer hunting season and damage any evidence discovered.
“When people call and give tips, the police are there within two minutes,” said Ashley Heberer, another supporter through an official Facebook page dedicated to Bee’s disappearance.
Stephanie Bee Clauser, Bee’s older sister, began a reward fund in his honor and is currently accepting donations through Southside Bank. Pekin police added a $1,000 reward to the fund through CrimeStoppers for information leading to the boy.
“It’s been sleepless nights,” said Clauser. “We’ve been looking for him all over.”
Bee is currently listed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Anyone with information about Bee can call CrimeStoppers at 673-9000 or Pekin police at 346-3132.