Missing ISU student Jelani Day identified after body discovered in Illinois River


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Nearly a month after he vanished, an Illinois State University student has been confirmed dead.

Jelani Day, 25, disappeared on Aug. 24.

Day was reported missing Aug. 25. His family last spoke with him on the evening of Aug. 23. He was last seen on the ISU campus on Aug. 24.

Police located Day’s vehicle Aug. 26 in Peru, Illinois. Authorities conducted ground and drone aerial searches of the area.

On Sept. 4, a search team found the body of a man floating near the south bank of the Illinois River about a quarter-mile east of the Illinois Route 251 Bridge. Dental records and DNA testing were used to identify Day.

Several agencies have been involved in the search and investigation. Among them are the Bloomington Police Department, Illinois State University Police Department, Peru Police Department, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, LaSalle County Sheriff’s and Coroner’s Office, LaSalle County State’s Attorney Office, LaSalle Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation Springfield Division, and Illinois State Police.

A cause of death is not yet known. Authorities in LaSalle County are conducting routine toxicology testing.

Anyone with information on the investigation is asked to contact the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office at 815-433-2161.

The Bloomington Police Department is the agency is where the investigation began.   

“We’re still going to investigate,” said Blooming Police spokesperson John Fermon.  

He said it’s too soon to determine whether foul play was involved.  

“Over time, that’s when we’re going to get that answer,” Fermon said. 

He said his department understands why family members criticized the department and wanted more help in finding their loved one.  Fermon said it was the family’s pleas for help that led to more attention. 

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