By Calvin Palmer
A man suspected of the murder of five family members in a farming community in Illinois attended the funeral of the victims.
Christopher J. Harris, 30, was arrested yesterday afternoon, Logan County Sheriff Steve Nichols said.
He is charged with murdering Raymond “Rick” Gee, 46, and Ruth Gee, 39, and children Justina Constant, 16, Dillen Constant, 14 and Austin Gee, 11. Their bodies were discovered on September 21 at the family home in Beason. They apparently had been beaten to death.
Another daughter, 3-year-old Tabitha, was badly injured and is in a Peoria hospital.
Harris was caught on camera, by a State Journal-Register photographer, standing amid other family members during the funerals for the Gee family on Monday.
He was formerly married to Nicole Gee, Rick Gee’s daughter, who did not live at the home. Nicole Gee received a divorce from Harris in March of 2007 based on grounds of mental cruelty.
But more recent court records show Harris sharing the same Beason address as Nicole Gee.
Neighbor Marjorie Wright said last night that she saw Harris move a gray pickup into the garage at Nicole Gee’s home several days ago.
Nichols also would not comment on whether Harris is thought to have acted alone and how he allegedly committed the crime.
Nichols did say Harris owns a primer-gray 1989 Ford Ranger pickup truck, which police have seized. He would not say where the truck was found.
“This arrest is not the culmination of this investigation,” Nichols said. “There are more investigative leads to be followed.
“We have not determined at this time if more arrests may come. We are confident in the forensic evidence analyzed thus far.”
The suspect’s mother, Debbie Harris, vehemently rejected the charges against her son and said he was hoping to remarry Nicole Gee.