Body of Illinois State Graduate Student Jelani Day Identified by Officials

In Summary

The body of the 25-year-old graduate student at Illinois State University was found floating in the Illinois River.

Jelani Day had been reported missing in Bloomington, Illinois, since Aug. 25. However, there are new developments in his disappearance. 

RELATED: Search Continues for Jelani Day Who’s Been Missing Since August

“On Thursday September 23, 2021, the LaSalle County Coroner identified the male body found as Jelani Day, 25, of Bloomington, Illinois through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison,” according to a press release. “Currently the cause of death is unknown, pending further investigation, and toxicology testing. Included in the investigation are the Bloomington Police Department, Illinois State University Police Department, Peru Police Department, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, LaSalle County Sheriff’s and Coroner’s Office, LaSalle County State’s Attorney Office, LaSalle Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Springfield Division, and the Illinois State Police.” 

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Day was last seen on the evening of Aug. 23 as he was speaking with his family. According to the press release, he was at the Illinois State University campus on Aug. 24 and his vehicle was located in Peru, Illinois. 

“We can all agree that it was very suspicious, unlike him. It’s just one of those of is it foul play or not and that’s kind of what LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office is their main focus. Is it a homicide investigation or is it a death investigation, and overtime, that’s where we’re going to get that answer,” said Bloomington police officer John Fermon. 

RELATED: Activists Address Racial Imbalance in Media Coverage of Missing Women

Unfortunately, there are disparities when it comes to missing Black and white people. Almost 40% of missing people are persons of color, according to the Black and Missing Foundation

It is a devastating loss for the Day family as he leaves behind his mother Carmen Bolden-Day. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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