The Family of Jelani Day Still Seeking Answers Weeks After His Disappearance

Jelani Day. Image: screenshot via YouTube

Family and police are hoping for any information on the whereabouts of Jelani Day, who’s been missing since late August, ABC 7 reports.

Day, who was a graduate student at Illinois State University, was reported missing in Bloomington, Illinois, on August 25 after he was absent from class for several days, according to his family.

A day later, his vehicle was found 60 miles away in a wooded area near Peru in LaSalle County.

According to reports by NBC Chicago, Day’s family has harshly criticized the investigation into his disappearance. The family claimed his case has not received the same level of media attention and outcry as other missing persons such as Gabby Petito.

“I shouldn’t have to beg. I shouldn’t have to plead. I shouldn’t have to feel, that there is a racial disparity, I shouldn’t have to feel anything like that, I want these people that have these resources to realize this could happen to them,” Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani’s mother said.

“What I want them to do, is to realize that Jelani is everybody, so he could be your brother, he could be your cousin, he could be your nephew, he could be a grandson,” she added. “And you want somebody to look for him or somebody to find him, and that’s all I want. I want my son.”

Back on Aug. 27, the Bloomington Police Department released what is believed to be the “last known photograph/video of Jelani and his clothing from a security camera at ISU’s Bone Student Center.” Additional images would later be released.

Along with several jurisdictions, the Bloomington Police has been “working to locate Day, and locating him is a top priority for everyone involved,” the department said in a release. 

“The BPD has also sent out this information statewide in an attempt to locate him,” the statement continued.

Back on Aug. 31, police say they procured a new video of Day from a surveillance camera at a Beyond/Hello, a Bloomington cannabis dispensary.

The video, which was taken at 9:12 a.m. on Aug. 24, shows Day wearing a blue Detroit Lions hat, a black Jimi “Hendrix” band shirt, white/silver shorts, and black shoes with white soles. The video also captured his vehicle parked outside of the establishment.

Terri Goss Kinzy, president of ISU, shared a message to the student body asking them to share any information they had “no matter how small.”

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“I am asking our Illinois State University community to think about Jelani, his family, and how we can come together to raise awareness and focus attention on the search to locate him,” the message read.

In early September, authorities said a body was found in the Illinois River but did not disclose if it was Day.

On Monday, Bloomington police again asked the public for tips as the search for Day continued.

“What we want is any factual tip, even as simple as. ‘Hey, you know, we saw him walking last month on the quad’ or something. That would be a good tip,” said John Fermon, a public information officer for the Bloomington Police Department.

 If anyone has information, please call Bloomington Police Department at (309) 434-2548.

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