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Search For Missing Illinois State Student Jelani Day Includes Body Found In Illinois River

Jelani Day
Jelani Day (Illinois State)

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Bloomington police are continuing to search for a 25-year-old Illinois State University student who was reported missing nearly two weeks ago.

Officer John Fermon told the (Bloomington) Pantagraph that several detectives are combing digital data and seeking other leads on the whereabouts of Jelani Day. Their efforts include assisting the LaSalle County Sheriff's office after authorities found a body in the Illinois River Saturday morning.

Day was last seen in a Bloomington cannabis dispensary on Aug. 24. His abandoned car was found Aug. 26 in a wooded area near the Illinois Valley YMCA in Peru, located about 60 miles north of Bloomington in LaSalle County. The YMCA is about two miles from the Illinois River.

Fermon declined to release any other information about the body discovered just off the south bank of the river east of the Illinois 251 bridge.

Nor would he elaborate on the Bloomington agency's involvement in the investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for this weekend. The LaSalle County coroner's office said it might be several weeks before officials make an identification.

Members of Day's family, who live in Danville, have offered $25,000 for the man's return. An online GoFundMe campaign has added $9,000 to that total.

Speaking at an event to support the search at Illinois State University in Normal last week, Day's mother, Carmen Bolden Day, told about 100 people attending that she believes her son is alive and will be found. She said Jelani Day is strong and asked the crowd to pray for his strength.

"I need Jelani to survive," Carmen Bolden Day said Friday. "My life will not be nowhere the same if I can't have Jelani here with me to survive. I need you to help me find my son."

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