The FBI and other authorities are offering up to $10,000 for “substantial information” on the final hours of doomed Illinois grad student Jelani Day.
The body of Day, a 25-year-old student studying speech pathology at Illinois State University, was discovered Sept. 4 in the Illinois River, about 60 miles from campus.
The young man was reported last seen alive nearly two weeks earlier at a Bloomington cannabis dispensary, police have said.
A coroner determined that the Danville native accidentally drowned, but his mother believes the avid swimmer was killed.
Authorities have said their investigation into his death is ongoing.
Day was reported missing one day after failing to return messages from a professor and family, FBI officials said Monday. The law-enforcement agency’s Chicago division is part of the interagency Jelani Day Joint Task Force putting up the reward.
The task force said it is hoping a social-media push and the offered reward will supplement the “forensic, analytical and technological” techniques being used in its probe.
“Investigators believe the full cooperation of the public and Day’s close contacts may be key to understanding the facts and circumstances surrounding Day’s death,” FBI’s Chicago division said in a statement Monday announcing the new reward.
FBI officials in Chicago declined to comment on the probe when reached by The Post on Tuesday, saying Department of Justice policy prevented them from providing details on ongoing investigations.
Day’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day, hired prominent civil-rights lawyer Ben Crump earlier this month as the investigation continues, the Chicago Tribune reported.
At a news conference, Bolden Day said authorities did not explicitly call her son’s death a suicide but told her things indicating that he “did this to himself,” the newspaper reported.
“And Jelani did not do this to himself,” Bolden Day told reporters.
Crump also insisted Day’s death was not a suicide, noting that the grad student’s car, clothing and cell phone were not found in the same location as his body. Day’s car was discovered in a nearby wooded area two days after he was last seen.
Day, who was in his second semester at ISU, was supposed to be at Illinois State on the day of his disappearance, the Tribune previously reported. He earlier attended Alabama A&M and went onto graduate school so his mother “would never have to work again,” Bolden Day told the newspaper in early September.
Anyone with information regarding Day’s death can submit tips anonymously at 800- CALL-FBI.
With Post wires