Family members find body of missing East St. Louis man in vacant field

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – An East St. Louis family is grieving after family members discovered the body of their loved one who disappeared over the weekend in a remote field. Now authorities believe the man was murdered.

Illinois State Police detectives are working with East St. Louis police in what authorities are calling a homicide investigation.

“I’m hurting, I’m hurting,” said Brenda Butchee, the mother of 27-year-old Laybreyan Butchee.

Brenda still can’t believe Laybreyan is gone.

Two of Laybreyan’s uncles found him in a weeded area at 38th and North Park Drive, not far from Brenda’s home where Laybreyan had been staying with his wife, who is 8 weeks pregnant.

Brenda tells us her son was kind and loved working on cars. She is heartbroken over his suspected murder.

“It’s hard, it’s hard because that’s my baby boy, you know, and I didn’t expect this,” she said.

Laybreyan’s family says he disappeared late Saturday night into Sunday morning.

His family members and others began searching for him Wednesday, then used pings from the last area where he was with his cellphone to continue the search on Thursday.

Laybreyan’s uncle, Jimmy Butchee, was one of the two people who found him.

“You couldn’t see him from the street. He was laying in the bushes. They just threw him away like garbage,” he said. “I am lost completely because I never would think anything, anyone would do anything like that to him, especially to him.”

Temera Gilmore from the East St. Louis group Hearts of a Safe House organized the search. Her group is dedicated to helping those in need.

“I’m a mom, so that’s what made me help her – that I’m a mom,” she said.

Some 31 evidence markers were at the scene.

Brenda says support from her large family will get her through this devastating time.

“We have that bond, we have that bond,” Brenda said.

Illinois State Police won’t confirm how Butchee died, pending an autopsy set for Friday. But Butchee’s family says it appears he had been shot.

Laybreyan’s family says he had no enemies and, at this point, investigators tell us there are no suspects.

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