Divers continue river search
By Brian Stanley email@example.com March 26, 2013 8:36PM
Updated: April 28, 2013 6:36AM
JOLIET - Jeanie Parker was a heck of a cook.
Besides preparing and hosting all of the holiday meals for her extended family at her Fifth Avenue home, Parker made three meals every day that were “worthy of Sunday dinner.”
“Even if you went to visit and told her you weren’t hungry, sooner or later, she’d find something you wanted,” her brother, Terrance Robinson remembered.
Parker’s specialty was soul food, but her sister Cynthia Parker-Mackins said her roasts, “melted in your mouth.”
“If you went over for a holiday meal you didn’t bring anything, but everyone brought a container for leftovers,” Parker-Mackins said.
Robinson, Parker-Mackins and their brother, Darrell Williams gathered other relatives and friends at Bluff Park Tuesday morning while divers searched the Des Plaines River for Jeanie Parker’s body. When Parker, 54, failed to keep an appointment with a neighbor last Thursday morning, police were called and found a large amount of blood in her house and garage.
Parker’s son, Charles (C.J.) McCullum, 21, was stopped by police later that morning in her car with blood on his clothes. McCullum admitted arguing with his mother before he choked and “repeatedly” stabbed her, police said.
McCullum allegedly told detectives he drove to the park and threw her body in the river. He has been charged with murder and remains in the county jail.
Firefighters have used boats and divers to search the water, which is around 25-feet deep in that area. Fire Dive Team Capt. Ron Fox said the temperature of the water is around 38-degrees and visibility is extremely limited.
Cadaver-sniffing dogs were used in the boats Monday and appeared to react in the same area. The Deparment of Natural Resources brought sonar equipment to check out that area Tuesday morning.
“We saw something that resembled the shape of a human body and sent in divers, but it turned out to be a pile of rocks unfortunately,” Fox said.
Fox said firefighters will continue the search using sonar and will dive again if anything is found in the murky water.
Parker-Mackins, Robinson and Williams plan to pray at the park when their sister’s body surfaces.
A lifelong Joliet resident, Jeanie Parker was the third of nine brothers and sisters and attended Joliet West High School and Northern Illinois University. Parker worked in the cafeterias of Caterpillar and Joliet Central High School.
“She loved to dress up. She loved fashion and wearing new hats,” Williams said.
“But she’d give them away all the time too,” Parker-Mackins said. “Every time my daughter went over, she’d run upstairs and give her one.”
Jeanie’s terrific memory made her the best source for stories other family members had forgotten, her siblings said.
Williams and Robinson simultaneously cited Jeanie’s cackling laugh as a sign she was enjoying herself.
When she wasn’t in the kitchen at a family gathering, she’d have her camera out to add to the hundreds of pictures displayed in her home.
“And she could dance. She loved James Brown,” Robinson added.
Parker also served on the usher board of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
“She was a giver to everyone. And would give everything to her sons,” Parker-Mackins said. “She was a Christian. She loved her family and we’re going to be there for her.”