Family seeking answers in Thursday shooting death in rural Salem

Family seeking answers in Thursday shooting death in rural Salem

SALEM, IL — As of Sunday night, Marion County authorities had not yet released any information regarding the shooting death Thursday night of 31-year-old Wesley Bivens, at his home on Green Street Road in rural Salem. According to Nikolas Bates,  Bivens was more than his cousin – he was his brother – as the two were raised together by their grandmother Rose Bates. Bates says his grandmother was notified that Wes was shot to death around 6:15 p.m. Thursday by his 28-year-old live-in girlfriend.

As of Sunday night, the girlfriend had not been arrested or charged in connection with the shooting death. A Marion County Sheriff’s detective notified the grandmother Friday afternoon – approximately 18 hours after the incident – of her grandson’s death, according to Bates. But he says they’re still mostly in the dark about what happened to his cousin. We’ve reached out to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department for information regarding their investigation but have not yet heard back. The Marion County Coroner’s Office referred questions regarding the shooting death to the Marion County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Bates and Bivens grew up together in Centralia and went to Centralia High School. Bivens, says his cousin, leaves behind a 10-year-old son with who he was very close. A birthday party for the boy was scheduled over the weekend but has since been canceled. According to Bates, Bivens had been with his girlfriend for just over a year and had recently moved in with her at the Green Street Road residence where he was killed. He says the couple had recently been having disagreements surrounding their cats that apparently didn’t get along. Bates says the family still has many questions surrounding Wesley’s death. He spent Sunday afternoon hanging green ribbons and placing green signs around Centralia seeking justice for his cousin. He’s also seeking donations on GoFundMe and Facebook Donation to not only help pay for Wesley’s final arrangements but to help Wesley’s young son as he grows up without his father.

Wesley Bivens will be cremated. A visitation will be held at 5:30 Thursday at Sutherland-Garnier Funeral Home in Centralia. His ashes will later be interred next to their favorite aunt, Margaret at a later date.

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