Search For Missing Grad Student Jelani Day Comes To Painful Ending

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The search for Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day has come to a bitter and grim ending. Nearly one month after he was first reported missing, police have identified a body that was found floating through the Illinois River as that of Jelani Day.

"On Thursday, September 23, 2021, the LaSalle County Coroner identified the male body found as Jelani Day, 25, of Bloomington, Illinois through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison. Currently, the cause of death is unknown, pending further investigation, and toxicology testing," the police report states.

Day was last seen alive entering a retail store on August 24 in Bloomington, Illinois. Nearly two days later, People reported that Day's car was found in Peru, Illinois with his clothes inside the vehicle. However, it still remains unclear how his car was moved to a different area or who moved his car to a different area. Now, Day's family is trying to put the pieces together and find out how this aspiring doctor's life was cut short.

"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," a statement from Day's family obtained by ABC 7 in Chicago.

"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. This week we learned new evidence has been discovered and police are working on new leads related to Jelani's disappearance. This case is not closed and the investigation is not over."

Moving forward, the day is encouraging anyone with information regarding Day's appearance to contact Blooming Police Department Detective Paul Jones at (309) 434-2548 or email him at

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