Jelani Day Was Someone 'You Couldn't Help But Love,' Says Mom, Who Suspects Foul Play in Death

"He did not disappear into thin air," said Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani's mother

Jelani Day
Jelani Day. Photo: Justice for Jelani Day Facebook

The mother of Jelani Day wants answers.

It has been over a month since the 25-year-old aspiring speech pathologist's body was recovered from the banks of the Illinois River, soon after the graduate student was reported missing.

Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, spoke to Good Morning America and ABC News this week, and confirmed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit is on the case — but that they're analyzing her son.

"I don't understand that, really, but whatever it takes to find out what happened to him, that's what I want them to do," Bolden Day told ABC News. "I want them to use their tools and their resources so that we can find out what happened to Jelani, because he did not disappear into thin air."

Bolden Day told GMA her son "was ambitious" and "driven" — and bound for great things.

"He was focused," Bolden Day continued. "He was energetic. He was full of life. Jelani was a person that you couldn't help but love."

Bolden Day told both ABC News and GMA she believes Jelani was the victim of foul play.

Investigators have yet to release an official cause of death, but Hallie Bezner, an attorney for the family, previously told Newsy the evidence collected thus far suggests "Jelani did not end up in that river willingly."

Bolden Day said to GMA she needs the right person to come forward.

Jelani Day
Jelani Day. Justice for Jelani Day Facebook

"Somebody knows something, somebody's seen something and I need somebody to say something," she said.

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

His family reported him missing Aug, 25.

Bezner told Newsy that Day 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 late last month by the LaSalle County Coroner's Office "through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison."

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Bezner told Newsy 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 previously said she believes someone knows what happened to Day, who did his undergrad at Alabama A&M, where he was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

She said she was hopeful someone would come forward so his family can finally have answers.

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