Authorities Continue to Search for Missing Couple; Son Facing Murder Charges

Oct 29, 2018

Jose Ramirez, left, and Matthew Roberts, right, are charged in connection with the disappearance of Ramirez's parents.
Credit Peoria County Sheriff's Office

The son of two missing Bradley University employees is facing murder charges as the search shifts to recovery.

21-year-old Jose Guadalupe Ramirez is facing two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of his parents Antonio Ramirez Barron and Dr. Susan Brill de Ramirez. He is also facing one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Sheriff Brian Asbell made the announcement in a press conference Monday evening. 20-year-old Matthew Roberts of Princeville is facing charges of concealment of a homicidal death and obstructing justice. Sheriff Asbell says the charges are a result of physical evidence and a confession, although he didn't immediately state who confessed. He later confirmed Jose Ramirez confessed to killing his parents.

Officials say the incident was isolated and no additional suspects are being sought.

Asbell says officials are now trying to locate the couple’s bodies in waterways north of Kewanee, near Annawan.

“We’re working in conjunction with the Department of (Natural) Resources, as well as the Henry County sheriff’s office in an attempt to locate both Antonio and Susan,” says Asbell.

Jose Ramirez initially called the Sheriff’s office to the rural Princeville home he shared with his parents late Sunday to report a burglary. Officers found blood at the scene, suggesting a violent crime. Sheriff Asbell believes the two died early Friday morning.

Antonio Ramirez Barron and Dr. Susan Brill de Ramirez, both 63, worked for Bradley University. Antonio Ramirez Barron was a technology support specialist. Dr. Brill de Ramirez was the Caterpillar Professor of English and a coordinator of graduate studies.

Bradley University President Gary Roberts mourned the couple’s passing in a Monday evening message sent to students and staff, saying both contributed greatly and will be remembered for their warmth and generosity.

Expanded counseling services are available to Bradley faculty, staff and students through Friday. President Roberts says campus flags will be flown at half-staff for three days in honor of the couple.