‘We have only one chance to get it right’: Yates asks for patience as Bliefnick investigation continues

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QUINCY — Adam Yates, chief of the Quincy Police Department, said he’s making no apologies for being “tight-lipped” about the investigation into last week’s fatal shooting of Rebecca Bliefnick. 

He wants Quincyans to know that “homicide investigations are complex, difficult and take time,” and his department has “only one chance to get it right.”

Yates gave an update to the Quincy City Council at its Monday meeting, then sent his statement to local media outlets Monday night.

Bliefnick, 41, of 2528 Kentucky Road, was found dead Thursday afternoon by a family member who went to check on her after she did not arrive at St. Peter School to pick up her children. Bliefnick was found with multiple gunshot wounds. The case is being treated as a homicide.

A visitation for Bliefnick at Duker & Haugh Funeral Home, 823 Broadway, will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Peter Church, 2600 Maine.  Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery.

Reading a prepared statement, Yates said eight detectives, three investigative supervisors, an investigator from the Illinois State Police and attorneys from the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office have been working together on this case. 

“Every resource at our disposal is being utilized,” Yates said. “Any request for assistance to outside law enforcement agencies or forensic specialists is being honored.”

Yates said Quincy hasn’t experienced a crime of this magnitude since Jan. 6, 2019. Dennis Green, 53, was found shot twice in the head on the front porch of his home in the 800 block of S. 13th in the early morning hours. That case remains open.

“All death is tragic,” he said. “The circumstances of Ms. Bliefnick’s murder are incomprehensible. Our community is shaken, on edge. They want answers. The members of our police department dedicate their lives to protecting the members of our community. When a crime like this occurs, it becomes our mission to ensure there is justice for the victim and a restored sense of security for our residents.”

Yates says interviews must still be conducted, evidence collected, preservation letters sent, search warrants written, video evidence found and timelines constructed out of the “overwhelming” amount of evidence and information. 

“I promise you that an incredible amount of work is going on behind the scenes,” Yates said. “Our detectives are working as hard and as fast as they can, but these things take time. More important, the work being done has to fall within the guidelines of acceptable investigative practices, Illinois statute and the U.S. Constitution. That is non-negotiable. Every step our detectives take and decision they make in the coming days, weeks and months will be picked apart by attorneys for years. 

“We have only one chance to get it right.”

Yates said he has been outspoken about the importance of transparency during his 10 months as chief. 

“Regarding cases like this, however, I make no apologies for being tight-lipped,” he said. “I take the integrity of a homicide investigation seriously. We do not talk about crime details, specific investigative techniques or theories about what happened. The intimate details of what took place are known only to our detectives and those close to the investigation, including the killer. 

“I will do my best to keep you informed, but I will not compromise this investigation. I ask for your patience, as difficult as I know that is.”

Yates said Quincyans are fortunate to live in a community where violent crimes like this one are rare. 

“Nothing I say here tonight will put our community at ease,” he said. “Making an arrest in this case is the only way to do that. We are working very hard to make that happen. This investigation is our highest priority. I offer my condolences to Ms. Bliefnick’s family and friends. May God be with them, her and with the investigators seeking justice on her behalf. 

“Ms. Bliefnick deserves our best. That is exactly what we intend to give her.”

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