The bodies of a Bradley University professor and her husband who’d been missing since last Thursday were found dead in an Illinois river on Tuesday — and their son is suspected of killing them, authorities say.
The bodies of Susan Brill de Ramirez, an English professor at Bradley University, and Antonio Ramirez Barron, who worked in the school’s IT department, were found in the Spoon River near Annawan, abutting the riverbank, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said at a Wednesday press conference.
Both victims were 63 and both died from blunt force trauma to the head and sharp-object and stab wounds, Harwood said.
Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said at a Monday press conference that detectives rapidly zeroed in on the couple’s son, Jose Ramirez, charging him with two counts of first-degree murder and felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon after officers encountered the crime scene while responding to a suspected burglary Sunday evening.
Ramirez is being held on $300,000 bond and has yet to enter pleas to the charges. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
A second man was also arrested for his alleged connection to the killings: Matthew Roberts, 20, is charged with single counts of murder, obstruction of justice and concealment of a homicidal death.
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Roberts is being held without bail and does not have an attorney of record. He has not been given the chance to enter pleas.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Peoria County Assistant State’s Attorney Dave Kenny said during a bond hearing Tuesday that Ramirez allegedly told his friends he killed the pair on Friday because he was “sick of his parents.”
According to Kenny, Ramirez allegedly waited until his parents were sleeping and then used pepper spray to distract them before stabbing them. Subsequently, he allegedly wrapped their bodies in a tarp and a tent, loaded their bodies into an SUV and drove 50 miles to a bridge in Annawan before dumping the bodies.
Police were initially called about a possible burglary by an unspecified relative who went to check on the couple following their unexpected absence from work Friday.