Body found in Illinois River identified as missing student

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Body found in Illinois River identified as missing student

A body found floating in the Illinois River was identified Thursday as missing grad student Jelani Day — as mysteries continue to surround his disappearance and cause of death.

The 25-year-old Illinois State University medical student was last seen entering a Bloomington cannabis dispensary on Aug. 24, police said.

Two days later, cops found his car concealed by trees in Peru, Illinois, and multiple law enforcement agencies combed the area looking for the aspiring doctor, officials said in a press release Thursday.

On Sept. 4, first responders found a body floating in the Illinois River outside Peru. A medical examiner used dental records and DNA to determine that the dead man was Day, officials said.

It remained unclear how the aspiring doctor died, the LaSalle County Coroner said Thursday.

The heavily publicized operation to find Long Island native Gabby Petito had led for renewed calls for officials to find Day.

Surveillance footage shows Jelani Day last seen on August 24, 2021.
Surveillance footage shows Jelani Day last seen on August 24, 2021.
Bloomington Police Department

“Why he doesn’t get that same attention? Because just like Gabby is important, I can sit in this seat and say I know what her mother’s feeling like because she wants her child back,” his mother, Carmen Bolden Day told Newsy on Monday. “I want my child back too.”

“It makes me mad that this young white girl is getting that attention, while my young black son is not,” she told the outlet.

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