Missing college professor, husband found dead in Illinois river after son confesses to their murders

The bodies of a college professor and her husband were recovered from a river in Central Illinois a day after their 21-year-old was arrested and charged with their murders.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood confirmed the bodies found in the Spoon River Tuesday are those of Susan Brill de Ramirez and Antonio Ramirez Barron. The couple, both 63, were discovered resting in the water against a river back near the Henry County community of Annawan.

They last reported to work at Bradley University on Thursday and were later reported missing over the weekend. Brill de Ramirez was a professor at the Peoria school while Ramirez Barron worked in the school’s information technology department.

Their son, Jose Ramirez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Monday after he confessed to the killings. Peoria County Assistant State Attorney Dave Kenny during his bond hearing the next day said Ramirez told friends he was “sick of his parents” and that he killed them Friday.

Prosecutors alleged the suspect waited until his parent were sleeping before sneaking into their bedroom at their home just outside of Peoria. He used pepper spray as a distraction and stabbed his father in the neck and stomach.

When his mother woke up, Ramirez allegedly stabbed her too, Kenny said.

He then wrapped the bodies up in a tarp and tent before putting them in his father’s SUV and driving them about 50 miles away to the Henry County community of Annawan. That’s where he told authorities he dumped his parents off a bridge and into he waterway below.

Peoria County deputies responded to the couple’s home on Sunday after receiving a call from a concerned relative. They uncovered blood at the scene as well as signs of a struggle, sparking a days-long search for the missing pair.

Judge Sean Donahue set bond for Ramirez at $3 million and his preliminary hearing day is slated for Nov. 29.

A second suspect in the slayings, 21-year Matthew Roberts, has been charged with obstruction of justice and concealment of a homicidal death. Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said investigators do not have evidence to suggest Roberts was involved in the killings nor getting rid of the bodies, but he seemed to be aware that his friend had committed the brutal crimes.

  • With News Wire Services