Search crews work long days in Beason

2009-09-23T20:40:00Z 2013-04-24T14:14:09Z Search crews work long days in BeasonBy Edith Brady-Lunny | eblunny@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com

BEASON -- Search and rescue teams from McLean County joined volunteers from several Illinois counties Wednesday in Beason to assist in the police investigation involving the deaths of five family members found murdered in their home on Monday.

Curt Hawk, director of the McLean County Emergency Management Agency, said he received a call early Tuesday morning from Dan Fulscher, his counterpart in Logan County.

"He told me what he was dealing with here," said Hawk.

Logan County police and emergency crews have worked several long days since the bodies of Rick and Ruth Gee and their three children were discovered around 4:30 p.m. Monday in their home on Broadway Avenue in Beason. Also confirmed dead were Justina Constant, age 16; Dillen Constant, 14 and Austin Gee, 11.

A 3-year-old girl found in the home was reported to be in stable condition Wednesday at a Peoria hospital with unspecified injuries.

Police have released few details of the killings, except to say that the victims did not die of gunshot wounds.

Hawk was expecting 60 volunteers to arrive Wednesday morning to continue their efforts to find specific items police were looking for as part of the homicide investigation. He would not reveal that those items might be.

McLean County also brought its unified command post vehicle, which was parked in front of the Beason fire station.

The Bloomington-based team received instructions from Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols.

"Every incident is local first," Hawk said.

Wednesday was the second and possibly the final day of the ground search, said Hawk.

Teams walked the ditches and borders of farm fields Tuesday near the victim's home and along a road on the south edge of town. The perimeters of the search area were expanded Wednesday, said the McLean County emergency services director.

Logan County Salvation Army Director Rebecca Van Nydeggen was at the fire station with a canteen station and volunteers from Macon County. She said the group is accustomed to helping with disasters in small towns, but the Gee family tragedy was different.

"It's a little more poignant to be dealing with death, particularly violent death," said Van Nydeggen.

Rick Hedges and Harold Scmidtt were among the Decatur Salvation Army helpers.

"We want to support the volunteers with food and well-being. They've given up days and days of their time," said Schmidtt, who has worked with the group for more than four decades.

Hedges said he was there for the people of Beason.

"They've had a tragic loss in this town," he said.

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