Body Found in Illinois Identified as Missing 25-Year-Old Jelani Day

Police identified a body found near the south bank of the Illinois River on Sept. 4 as the missing aspiring doctor

Jelani Day
Jelani Day. Photo: Bloomington Police Department

A body discovered earlier this month near the south bank of the Illinois River has been identified as Jelani Day, who has been missing for nearly a month.

Day, a 25-year-old graduate student at Illinois State University, was last seen on campus Aug. 24. His family reported him missing the next day, and search efforts began.

Now, nearly a month to the day later, his body has been identified, according to a news release from the agencies involved in the search.

The LaSalle County Coroner's office discovered a body on Sept. 4 during search efforts in the LaSalle Peru area. The coroner identified the body as Day "through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison," and his "cause of death is unknown, pending further investigation, and toxicology testing."

Jelani Day
Jelani Day. Bloomington Police Department

The aspiring doctor's car was found in Peru, Illinois, about 60 miles away from his university, on Aug. 26. The Peru Police Department set up a command post there, and an "extensive K9 search was conducted" in addition to drone aerial searches and a ground search.

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As the days went by, searches continued, but Day was nowhere to be found. On Sept. 4, the searched broadened to include the LaSalle Peru area, and "a male decedent," now identified as Day, "was recovered floating near the south bank of the Illinois River approximately ¼ mile east of the Illinois Rt. 251 Bridge."

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Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, told Newsy on Monday that she didn't "feel like [she was] getting the help that [she needed]."

"I'm imploring, pleading and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son," she said, adding that during their last conversation, Day told her he was going to class and that he'd call her later. "He said, 'Okay mama, I just wanted to hear your voice.' And that was our last conversation on August 23."

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