Celebration of Life Held for Jelani Day in His Hometown

In Summary

Jelani Day's family held a funeral service for him on Saturday in celebration of his life and accomplishments. They are still seeking answers to his death, saying that a proper investigation has yet to happen. 

WARNING – This story contains graphic details of a dead body. Resources for those triggered by this coverage are available here.

The town of Danville, Illinois, was somber on Saturday as a celebration of life was held for graduate student Jelani Day.   

Day was found dead in the Illinois River on Sept. 4 after he went missing at the end of August. The LaSalle County Coroner positively identified his body on Sept. 23.   

His nearly four-hour funeral in his hometown was filled with his favorite gospel songs, stories of how he impacted the lives of his friends and family and his accomplishments.   

Calls for justice reverberated at his celebration of life, as his family still has questions surrounding his death.   

RELATED: Jelani Day’s Mother Highlights Racial Disparities in Handling of Case 

The Illinois State University student’s mother, Carmen Bolden-Day, told BNC the police had not done a proper investigation into Day’s death since his body was identified last month, saying the authorities and the medical examiner have shown the family disrespect.   

She added that either the autopsy was incorrectly done or whoever is responsible for his death did something to the body, describing it as “mutilated.”   

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Day’s body was found with no eyeballs, missing teeth, liver and spleen, as well as a missing brain.

“I need to know what happened to him because Jelani wouldn’t hurt nobody. Jelani shouldn’t have been like that,” an emotional Bolden-Day said.   

The family hired a lawyer, a private investigator and got an independent autopsy done after the first autopsy didn’t reveal a cause of death.   

This article has been updated.

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