WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. – Neighbors of two men accused of kidnapping an Olive Branch boy and driving him to their home in Illinois said they only learned what had happened when they saw the news coverage Wednesday.
The home where Juan Andrade and Jason St. Aubin live is in a quiet part of Williamson County composed of weekend homes with breathtaking views of the Lake of Egypt.
It made for a scenic stakeout for deputies Tuesday afternoon, neighbors said.
“The cars were still there. They were all on the back porch waiting for somebody,” said Ray Lumbert, who owns the boat shop next to the suspects’ house.
John Aubrey Peal III was kidnapped by the men from his Olive Branch home on August 1, Olive Branch police said, and driven to Illinois.
Peal’s father said they spent months chatting with him on a gaming app and lured him to Illinois with threats of suicide.
“Over those months, he believed that he was saving them from suicide,” said John Peal II. “He gave them advice on how to not kill themselves.”
Sunday, St. Aubin allegedly surrendered Peal at a fire station only a few miles from his home in Illinois. Workers at the fire station said St. Aubin didn’t appear concerned and even waited for deputies to arrive.
“I would not have suspected that at all,” said Lumbert.
Lumbert and his neighbors say the men usually kept a low profile and any communication with them was limited.
“I saw them coming and going to work, but that’s it,” said Mike Taylor.
“They never say anything?” WREG asked.
“They didn’t wave, nothing, no.”
Before they lived in Williamson County, both suspects lived in Kankakee County, about an hour south Chicago.
St. Aubin was booked into the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office in 2007, but it’s unknown what he was charged with.
Andrade logged several traffic tickets in Kankakee County in 2005.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to repeated messages seeking information on the suspects in Williamson County.
Both are now awaiting extradition to Mississippi, but authorities in Illinois said they also plan to file charges.