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Justice for Jelani Day

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

By: Tyler Williams


There is nothing worse than having a loved one gone missing, especially if it's your own child. Jelani Day, an Illinois State University grad student, was missing since August 24th and was found on September 4th. The LaSalle County Coroner’s Office confirmed Day’s body on Sept. 23. The authorities found Jelani Day’s body, but unfortunately, his spirit was nowhere to be found.

According to People Magazine, Carmen Bolden Day, mother of Jelani Day, was looking for answers about her missing son. She was determined to retrieve her beloved 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."

Chicago Sun Times reported that the police recovered Jelani Day’s four-door sedan nearby a wooded area south of the Illinois Valley YMCA on Thursday, Aug. 26, one day after he had been reported missing. Nine days later, on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9:47 a.m., searchers found a body floating in the Illinois River near the Illinois Route 251 Bridge.

Jelani Day was an aspiring speech pathologist and he was filled with a lot of potential for great success. Bolden Day told Good Morning America 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.” National Public Radio (NPR) stated that Bloomington Police have said Day went missing "in unexplained suspicious circumstances." As the agency confirmed the recovery of the man's body, it said toxicology testing will be undertaken in an attempt to learn how Day died. The last place Day was seen, police said, was at a store in the Beyond / Hello cannabis dispensary chain. Recently, there have been rumors claiming organs from Jelani Day’s corpse have been removed. According to a recent article from The Pantagraph, Bolden Day wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Bolden Day posted the following on Facebook: “Some things need and have to be clarified. No organs were missing. I do not want to stray off from the facts.” This rumor was ignited because of a Chicago Sun Times article stating the following: "the family’s private forensic pathologist could find no brain, according to Day and her attorney. No organs. Neither liver. Nor spleen." This has caused conspiracy in people’s minds, however, the story later explained the organs had decomposed after his body spent several days in the river and therefore were not present when a second autopsy was performed, according to The Pantagraph.

Illinois State University students file onto the floor of Redbird Arena during a memorial for Jelani Day on Thursday. DAVID PROEBER, THE PANTAGRAPH

ABC7 Chicago News reported that the Danville community also gathered for a memorial Thursday night at Illinois State University to remember Day on October 10th. Day's cause of death has not been released. Police are still investigating the case, along with the FBI. Jelani Day will never be forgotten and will be acknowledged as a spirit that will live within our hearts.

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