The missing person case of Ruth Collins has an unfortunate outcome. The last time anyone saw the 49-year-old Kankakee, Illinois resident was on October 1, but no one had been able to get into contact with her since that time. On Wednesday (October 28), the body of a deceased person was located in the Soldier Creek tunnel near railroad tracks. Authorities later verified that the remains belonged to Ruth Collins, and two days later, her 29-year-old son Elijah Harrell was arrested for her murder.
The Daily Journal reports that Ruth Collins lived with her son, at the time of her death. Ruth’s niece called authorities when she couldn’t get in contact with her, and when police went to Ruth’s residence, they spoke to Harrell. He reportedly told them that his mother wasn’t at the home and she wouldn’t be returning. Harrell did allow investigators to search the residence to make sure that Ruth wasn’t inside, and when they couldn’t find her, a missing person report was filed. A few days later, Ruth’s EBT LINK card was used by Harrell. Police also inspected video surveillance from a business where a man could be seen lugging a large blue trash bin near railroad tracks in the early morning hours of October 2.
When relatives of Ruth Collins were shown the footage, they identified the mysterious man as Elijah Harrell.
An autopsy report revealed that Ruth had been stabbed multiple times. Harrell has been arrested and prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder and one count of concealment of a homicidal death. His bond has been set at $5 million and at the conclusion of his appearance in court, Elijah Harrell asked if he could make a short statement. The judge obliged but told him he couldn’t say anything about the case.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart and don’t take it too hard on me,” said Harrell.
As if this case couldn’t get any more heartbreaking, Ruth Collins suffered a tragedy back in 2002. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Eighteen years ago, Ruth’s son, 12-year-old DeShawn Harrell, and his 11-year-old friend, Peter Jackson, attempted to cross the Kankakee River but were swept away by the undercurrent. The boys had spent the day riding their bikes to the park and when they reportedly attempted to cross the river, which was two-feet deep at the time, and accidentally drowned. DeShawn and Peter were reportedly helping three other boys make it to shore prior to their tragic deaths.
Anyone with information that could help the case involving Ruth Collins and Elijah Harrell is urged to contact the Kankakee Police Department at (815) 933-0425 or their local authorities.
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