PEKIN — An outside group is being brought in to help community members search for Robert Bee, a 13-year-old Pekin boy who went missing Nov. 17 after running away from a truancy officer.
Trucks 4 Kidz Missouri and Illinois, a not-for-profit charity and missing child search group, is making its way to Pekin this weekend to begin combing the area for Bee.
“We’ve been looking (for Bee) for a long time,” said Mary Jane Richards of Pekin. “Now we’re getting professional help and we’re excited.”
Richards has been helping search for Bee since he went missing as part of the “Team Bonzai” search group, named for the boy’s middle name.
“One of the (Team Bonzai) ladies on (our Facebook page) has posted about Trucks 4 Kidz,” Richards said. “We looked them up and they were 37-for-37 in the last two (years).”
According to founder and president Anthony Accardi, Trucks 4 Kidz is hoping to make Bee its 38th successful find.
“We’re here to find a missing child and bring peace to the community,” Accardi said. “It’s what we do.”
Accardi and his team — which will consist of around 15 people when it comes to Pekin — generally work with search canines and horses, as well. He said each member of the team is trained to search for missing children.
“We all know CPR and have a first aid background,” Accardi, who is a trained paramedic and volunteer firefighter, said. “We train in-house. … It’s mostly hands-on. You won’t learn unless you’re out there.”
Trucks 4 Kidz conducts its searches free of charge, so Richards has been rallying the Pekin community to donate snacks, water and gas money to help the group when members begin their search.
“They’re an awesome group. They’re not charging a penny, pulling all these trailers,” Richards said. “We’re all praying.”
Donations are being accepted at the Mattress Doctor stores in both Pekin and Mackinaw.
Pekin police said they were unaware that Trucks 4 Kidz would be coming to Pekin to search for Bee.
Maddie Gehling can be reached at 686-3194 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mgehling_pjs.