Deep into their second month of searching for missing 13-year-old Robert Bee, city police received a citizen’s tip last week that sent hopes rising.
It was a deliberately false lead, provided by a member of a Facebook page of area people with avid interest in finding the boy, city Police Chief John Dossey said Wednesday.
Jennifer Gordon, of Manito, now faces a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice.
Police, meanwhile, remain frustrated in their “above and beyond” efforts to find the child his family calls Bonzai, Dossey said.
He’s remained missing since he fled from his mother’s home Nov. 17, when a District 108 officer came to take him to school and serve his mother with a truancy citation.
“We’ve knocked on doors of sex offenders. We’ve searched several houses,” and pursued every tip considered credible among the dozens received, Dossey said.
If someone is sheltering Bee, perhaps out of concern for his care, Dossey urged them to come forward.
However, “I don’t get the sense that’s the case,” he said in one of the first insights the Police Department has provided into its investigation of what Dossey acknowledged is a “unique” case of potential trails leading nowhere.
Gordon, 36, sent both Pekin and Illinois State Police detectives on one such trail on Dec. 27 by telling them with “specific” detail that Bee had been seen going into a house, Dossey said. She and her fellow Facebook page members believed the house and its area were worthy of a search for Bee, he said.
The detectives were familiar with the house — in a location Dossey declined to identify Wednesday — and the tip “seemed very credible,” he said.
They soon learned that was not the case, from Gordon herself.
She stated on the page that she had concocted the tip to prompt the search, Dossey said. “She posted that she (had) lied.”
The tip “had us chasing false hopes” while wasting valuable time and steep overtime costs, he said.
Gordon posted $150 in cash bond on Dec. 28 for release pending her next court date on Jan. 31.
Lisa Bee, Robert’s mother, did not appear in court Tuesday to answer to the truancy citation issued the day her son ran from the school officer and a police officer who had come with him to her home at 233 Sapp St. In cases of no-shows in ordinance violation cases, defendants are typically found guilty and sent notices to pay their fines.
Bee fled without his medication for seizures he suffers and for ADHD, said his half-sister, Stephanie Clauser, who came to the Tazewell County Courthouse for Lisa Bee’s scheduled appearance.
The boy has run from home before, when he wasn’t living on occasion with her family, Clauser said. He typically went to friends’ homes, she said but on Nov. 17 they were in school when he fled.
Clauser stated her faith that police are doing all they can to find her young brother.
They will continue, Dossey said, and will welcome any credible tips the public provides.
“People want to help,” he said, “but we don’t need information that’s made up.”
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin