Family Lawyer Says 'Someone Did Something' to Jelani Day, Has 'No Doubt' There Was Foul Play

The graduate student was reported missing on Aug. 25

Jelani Day
Jelani Day. Photo: Bloomington Police Department

The attorney for the family of Jelani Day insists that the 25-year-old graduate student — whose body was recovered from the banks of the Illinois River earlier this month, soon after he was reported missing — was the victim of foul play.

While investigators have yet to release an official cause of death, lawyer Hallie Bezner tells Newsy the evidence that has been collected thus far suggests "Jelani did not end up in that river willingly."

Bezner added: "I speak for the family when I say that we are confident someone did something to Jelani. We don't know who that person is, we don't know what they did, but we feel very strongly, and the evidence points to someone else being involved in this."

Day, who was enrolled at Illinois State University, was last seen on campus on Aug. 24.

His family reported him missing Aug, 25.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit has now gotten involved in the case, Bezner said, noting the family's hopeful they'll be able to develop a suspect in his death.

Bezner also said that the aspiring doctor had never in his life been to Peru, Ill. — where his car was recovered on Aug. 26 with its plates removed. She also said Day's phone remains missing, but said his wallet was found in a different location than where his vehicle and body were found.

Day's remains were recovered Sept. 3. An identification wasn't formally made until last week by the LaSalle County Coroner's Office "through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison."

Bezner told Newsy that investigators have no suspects at this time and are working to try to pin down Day's whereabouts in the days after he was last seen.

Bezner believes someone knows what happened to Day, a graduate of Alabama A&M who was also a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. She hopes they will come forward so his family can finally have answers.

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Meanwhile, detectives in Peru are working to identify the man seen in surveillance video banging on a door in LaSalle.

The footage shows a man knocking at the door. When no one answers, he simply walks away.

The homeowner, not recognizing the man, shared the footage with police, believing it could be Day. But his relatives have seen the footage, WLS reports, and say it is not him.

Tips about Jelani Day's case can be called into 1-800-CALL-FBI.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched online by Day's family.

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