Missing Illinois student Jelani Day's body was found in the river nearly 3 weeks ago, officials say

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Friday, September 24, 2021
Remains found in Illinois River ID'd as Jelani Day
The LaSalle County coroner said remains found nearly 3 weeks ago in the Illinois River have been identified as missing ISU student Jelani Day.

BLOOMINGTON, Illinois -- The body of missing 25-year-old Jelani Day has been found and identified, officials in Illinois said Thursday.

The Illinois State University graduate student was reported missing on Aug. 25 after he didn't show up to class for several days.

Officials said the body of a man was found on Sept. 4.

On Thursday, the county's coroner positively identified that body as Day using DNA testing and comparison. The cause of death is currently unknown, pending further investigation and toxicology testing.

According to officials, Day's family last spoke with him on Aug. 23. He was last seen on campus on Aug. 24.

Officials said his car was found Aug. 26 in Peru, Illinois, which is about one hour away from his campus.

Investigators with Peru police said when they found Day's car searches were conducted, but he was not found.

On Sept. 4, another search recovered male remains floating near the south bank of the Illinois River.

"I shouldn't have to beg. I shouldn't have to plead. I shouldn't have to feel that there is a racial disparity," his mother, Carmen Bolden Day, told Good Morning America. "I shouldn't have to feel anything like that. I want these people that have these resources to realize this this could happen to them."

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Day was a Masters student at Illinois State University studying speech pathology.