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Body of Jelani Day, missing Illinois grad student, pulled out of river, officials say

Officials identified the male body located Sept. 4 in the Illinois River as missing man Jelani Day.

Officials identified the male body located Sept. 4 in the Illinois River as missing man Jelani Day.

City of Peru Police Department

The body of Jelani Day, a 25-year-old graduate school student missing for nearly a month in Illinois, was pulled out of the Illinois River, officials said Thursday.

Officials found the body Sept. 4, and the LaSalle County Coroner determined Thursday through forensic dental identification and DNA testing that it was Day. The cause of death is unknown, according to the coroner.

Family members last spoke to Day on Aug. 23 and he did not show up for class for several days at Illinois State University. He was reported missing Aug. 25, according to McClatchy News. The last-known footage of him was from Aug. 24, when he was shown entering a Bloomington retail store.

On Aug. 26, about 60 miles north of Bloomington in the town of Peru, police discovered Day’s vehicle abandoned in a wooded area. Peru is located within LaSalle County, where his body was found.

The body was recovered “floating near the south bank of the Illinois River,” the coroner said.

Day, an Alabama A&M graduate who was attending graduate school at Illinois State, was studying to become a speech pathologist, his mother said in recent interviews.

His mother, Carmen Bolden Day, had described her son as energetic, full of life and goal-driven.

This story was originally published September 23, 2021 4:38 PM.

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