A quintessential small town in eastern Livingston County is reeling from the brutal deaths of three people on Christmas Day in what authorities called an "isolated incident."
Clifford W. Brewer of Cullom is jailed in Pontiac on murder charges and is expected in court Friday. Authorities have not disclosed a motive or formally identified the dead, other then to describe them as a 51-year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man.
Funeral home death notices were sent to The Pantagraph for Shirley Ann Brewer, 48, and Christian Allen Brewer, 27, both of Cullom. The notices said they were pronounced dead at 5:20 a.m. Wednesday at their home.
Cullom, midway between interstates 55 and 57 in Livingston County, has had a steady population in the mid 500s for years. The small town, its main street has a bar, real estate and doctor’s offices, post office, and city history museum. There’s a Casey’s General Store and a community market staffed by volunteers; a village hall building, water and fire departments, but no police. The Lutheran church has regular weekly services; Methodists have services just once a month because they share a pastor with another church. The Catholic church closed last year. Tri-point High School is located in Cullom.
No matter who you talk to, the residents describe Cullom as “quiet.”
On Thursday, Kim Clark of Chatsworth stopped at the doctor’s office, where she used to work, and “thought that was crazy” when she learned about the murders.
arbara Hahn grew up in Cullom and moved back 20 years ago; she's been mayor for six years and operates Hahn Industries, “the finest ornamental concrete in Central Illinois,” founded by her parents in 1959.
“We’re a small community, we’re a quiet community, we don’t have things like this happen,” Hahn said. “That’s the tragedy of it. We all know each other.”
She’d tweeted Christmas Day about the deaths, but clarified Thursday that the incident did not involve suicide.
Joy Harms, who has lived in Cullom on and off for 40 years, was on her way to a Christmas celebration about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when she came upon emergency lights and responders in the 400 block of East Jackson Street.
The Livingston County Sheriff's Office was notified about 2:09 a.m. Christmas Day of a death investigation crime scene at 416 E. Jackson St., the sheriff's office said.
"Upon deputies' arrival, it was observed that there were three deceased victims at this location — a 51 year-old man, a 48-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man," said the statement.
Vermilion Valley E-911 Dispatch received a call about 2:05 a.m. Wednesday about a triple homicide at a home in Cullom, said Coroner Danny Watson.