LASALLE COUNTY, Ill. — The body of a man found floating in the Illinois River three weeks ago has been identified as Jelani Day, a graduate student at Illinois State University, authorities said.
According to the Bloomington Police Department, Day, 25, was last seen on Aug. 24 walking into a cannabis dispensary in Bloomington, Illinois, on Aug. 24, the Chicago Tribune reported. Day was reported missing the next day, and his car was found Aug. 26, hidden in a wooded area of Peru in LaSalle County, the newspaper reported.
The LaSalle County Coroner’s Office confirmed Thursday that a man’s body that was found Sept. 4 was Day’s, WLS-TV reported.
The cause of death is currently unknown, pending further investigation and toxicology testing, the television station reported.
Day was a graduate student in his second semester at Illinois State University. His mother, Carmen Bolden Day, said he aspired to become a speech pathologist, CNN reported.
“Our hearts are broken,” Day’s family said in a statement. “We ask that you continue to pray for our family during what will be very hard days ahead. Throughout these 30 days, our very first concern was finding Jelani, and now we need to find out #WhatHappenedToJelaniDay. At this moment there are more questions than answers surrounding Jelani’s disappearance and death, and that is where we will focus our energy. As of this moment, we do not know what happened to Jelani and we will not stop until we do.”
Investigators are trying to determine if Day was a victim of foul play, John Fermon, a Bloomington police spokesperson, told the Tribune.
“Over time, that’s where we’ll get that answer,” Fermon told the newspaper.
Before going to graduate school, Day had attended Alabama A&M, where he ran track and was in the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, according to the Tribune.
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