Family looking for answers in Bloomington 20-year-old’s death

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:24 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Talaina Matthews remembers her son’s dimples, and anyone would point them out when he smiled.

She remembered seeing those dimples the morning of February 20, as she and her son, 20-year-old Keijoun Watts, talked about the new apartment he was moving into.

She described her son as a quiet man and a hard worker. He started working at Rivian last July as a team member in the body area of their facility. He would move parts across the factory floor to help build electric vehicles.

When he didn’t come home later that day, she and Watt’s girlfriend knew something was wrong.

“His girlfriend became worried and we started trying to figure out where he could be because that’s not like Keijoun,” Matthews said. The family waited throughout the night. Close to 2 a.m., they got a call saying he might be hurt, but weren’t able to confirm their worst fears until late Tuesday afternoon.

Watts was found dead outside Victory Church in Bloomington around 8:45 p.m. Monday night. McLean County deputies were called to the scene because of “unusual activity.”

25News attempted to hear 911 calls and dispatch audio from that night using a Freedom of Information Act request. The sheriff’s office denied it, citing the ongoing investigation.

Sheriff Matt Lane said there were no updates to the case. They are still looking for Watts’ car, which was stolen from the scene. Anyone with information on the car’s location is encouraged to call Detective Hanner at (309) 888 - 5063 or Detective Henkel at (309) 888 - 5049. If anyone locates the car, McLean County Sheriff is asking they call 911.

McLean County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to locate this car that's linked...
McLean County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to locate this car that's linked to a fatal shooting.(McLean County Sheriff's Office)

“He wasn’t a person out here in the street,” Matthews said. “He wasn’t a person out here doing bad, he was a person who went to work and worked hard. He stayed close to his family, he cared about family.”

According to Matthews, her son was not associated with Victory Church. the pastor reached out to her earlier this week, the church hosted a prayer vigil for Watts Tuesday.

“Our church is praying for comfort and care for the family who lost their loved one, and Victory Church is here for anyone hurting as a result of it. Victory Church leadership has pledged its full cooperation with law enforcement authorities as they conduct their investigation,” church leaders said in a statement.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Keijoun’s passing, and our sympathies and thoughts are with his family during this tragic time,” a spokesperson for Rivian said in a statement.

Matthews and her family are once again in a period of waiting. They are waiting to see Watts’ body, which can’t be seen until the coroner wraps up her investigation and the body is sent to the funeral home.

They’re also looking for answers to their long list of questions with two at top of mind: why was Watts at that church, and what happened to him?

Matthews believes someone in the community knows something and wants them to speak up.

“My son was a good person, he didn’t deserve that,” she said. “Whatever you did, I’m sure it will be brought to light.”