Man slain in New Lenox Township home

Warning to travelers and campers
September 21, 2009 2:42:04 PM PDT
Authorities in Will County are searching for a person of interest in connection with a deadly home invasion. Lance Goebel, 48, was found slain in his home Thursday evening near southwest suburban New Lenox.

Police say the man they are looking for should be considered armed and dangerous.

Goebel was known for his kind heart. He received an award from Illinois mentor just a few hours before he was shot and killed inside his home.

Police believe the man responsible is an extended family member, though they are not speculating as to the motive behind the shooting.

Those who knew him are still struggling to understand why anyone would want to kill Goebel. A resident of the tight-knit New Lenox Township community, Goebel and his wife are known for their kindness.

"One of the things he would do is he would take care of adults that had mental and physical problems. He would take care of them at his house," said Reverend. Pat Shaver, Christ's Mission Church.

Goebel's body was discovered by his wife as she arrived home around 5 p.m. Thursday evening.

His vehicle was missing from the driveway.

Investigators are now looking for his nephew old Juan Gonzalez, 23.

"He has camping equipment with him, including a tent, sleeping bags. He has a large amount of canned food. So the assumption is he's looking for campgrounds or state parks, something like that," said Pat Barry, Will County Sherrif's Spokesperson.

The sheriff's office is advising anyone traveling this weekend, staying in a camping ground area or state park to be aware of the description of this vehicle and to call 911 immediately if you spot it.

Investigators have stopped short of issuing an arrest warrant for Gonzalez, but they believe he has something to do with the murder.

Goebel's vehicle was recovered Thursday morning in a field not a half mile from the family home, and police now believe Gonzalez may be in a 1997 green Saturn, Illinois license plate number A86955.

"If the public sees the vehicle call police, don't approach at all," Barry said.

Pastor Keith Leininger has known the Goebels and their two children for many years. His church is next door to the family's five-acre property.

"He was a big guy with a big heart, enjoyed giving his help and aid to those in need. Always had a heart to do that. Good neighbor, good friend," Leininger said.

Police say at one point Gonzalez lived with the Goebel's and was known to have had problems with Lance Goebel.

He is former member of the military and is believed to have a semi-automatic weapon with him, which is why authorities say he should not be approached.

Anyone who sees his vehicle should immediately call police.


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