The LaSalle County, Ilinois, coroner’s office has identified the body of Jelani “J.J.” Day.
Jelani, an Illinois State University graduate student, was last seen on campus on Aug. 24. The following day, after not hearing from the 25-year-old, his family filed a missing persons report.
The local corner’s office detailed that Jelani’s remains were found on Sept. 4. In a statement jointly released by local officials, it was noted that the coroner identified Jelani’s body “through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison.” As of now, the 25-year-old’s “cause of death is unknown, pending further investigation and toxicology testing.”
Further details highlighted that Jelanli’s car was found 60 miles away from ISU on Aug. 26, and that a “command post” was established by the Peru Police Department at that site. In addition, various local officials tried to help locate Jelani, and their work included “an extensive K9 search,” aerial drone searches and a ground search.
On Sept. 4, the body now identified as Jelani’s “was recovered floating near the south bank of the Illinois River approximately ¼ mile east of the Illinois Rt. 251 Bridge.”
The 25-year-old wanted to be a doctor and was getting his master’s degree in speech pathology. According to Newsy, Jelani had “graduated from Alabama A&M where he pledged Omega Psi Phi fraternity” before continuing his education at ISU. Furthermore, he was a Bloomington, Illinois resident.
When his mother spoke with the outlet earlier this week, she heartbreakingly expressed that she felt she wasn’t getting the help she needed to find out what happened to her son. While Carmen Bolden Day knew local authorities had recovered a body that they suspected was Jelani’s, the mother told Newsy at that time, “I don’t truly believe that it is my son.”
“I’m imploring, pleading and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son,” Carmen said on Monday, Sept. 20.
Moreover, the mother shared that Jelani told her, “‘Okay mama, I just wanted to hear your voice.’ And that was our last conversation on August 23.”
“I just want somebody to speak up because somebody knows something,” Carmen previously expressed. Notably, to aid in helping figure out what happened to Jelani, she’s hired a private investigator.
After news broke that the body found on Sept 4. has been identified as Jelani’s, his family posted on Facebook in part:
“There are no words to clearly communicate our devastation. We learned this morning from the LaSalle County Coroner the deceased man found in Peru, IL on Saturday, September 4 is Jelani. Our hearts are broken.”
USA Today reports that investigators on the case are currently “trying to determine if [Jelani] was a victim of foul play.”
Jalani’s disappearance and death have gained national attention amid an ongoing conversation surrounding “missing white woman syndrome” and Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old social media influencer who died during a cross-country trip she took with her fiancé Brian Laundrie.
MADAMENOIRE will provide updates as information on what happened to Jelani continues to be released.