I am saddened to report the body found in an Illinois river on September 4 has been identified as missing Illinois State University graduate student, Jelani Day.
The 24-year-old disappeared on August 24 and had not been seen or heard from since.
His family and professor reported him missing on August 25 after he did not show up for class for several days.
The day before, Jelani was captured on surveillance video entering a dispensary in Bloomington.
Two days later, his car, a white Chrysler 300, was found in the woods 60 miles away in Peru, Illinois.
The clothes Jelani Day was last seen wearing were found inside the vehicle.
Police say Day disappeared under “unexplained suspicious circumstances.”
The Lasalle County Coroner reported the body discovered “floating near the south bank of the Illinois River approximately ¼ mile east of the Illinois Rt. 251 Bridge” is that of Jelani Day.
The cause of death has yet to be determined as further investigation and toxicology testing is needed.
Jelani’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day, was disheartened and frustrated with the lack of urgency and concern from law enforcement to find her son.
She also called out the media for the lack of coverage of her son’s case when the whole world appeared to stop spinning on its axis over the disappearance of Gabby Petito.
The Day family released the following statement:
Our hearts are broken. We ask that you continue to pray for our family during what will be very hard days ahead. Throughout these 30 days, our very first concern was finding Jelani, and now we need to find out #WhatHappenedToJelaniDay.
At this moment there are more questions than answers surrounding Jelani’s disappearance and death, and that is where we will focus our energy. As of this moment, we do not know what happened to Jelani and we will not stop until we do.
My sincerest condolences and prayers go out to the Day family.
This is far from over. This family deserves answers, justice, and closure.
May Jelani Rest In Peace.
Source: NBC 5 Chicago