Police called the death of Jelani Day “very suspicious” after a body found in the Illinois River was confirmed to be his. Day, a 25-year-old Illinois State University student, went missing in late August.
Day’s official cause of death is still unknown and police have not yet declared it to be a homicide. However, on Thursday (Sept. 23), Bloomington police officer John Fermon said circumstances surrounding the young man’s death and disappearance are “very suspicious.”
“Our investigation’s not complete and I know the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office investigation is not complete,” Fermon told Chicago’s CBS 2. “We can all agree that it was very suspicious, unlike him. It’s just one of those, is it foul play or not? And that’s kind of what the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office[‘s] … main focus is… is it a homicide investigation or is it a death investigation? And over time, that’s where we’re going to get that answer.”
As reported by REVOLT, searchers discovered a body in the Illinois River near Peru, Illinois on Sept. 4. On Thursday, authorities confirmed the body was Day’s using his dental records and DNA tests.
According to police, Day was last seen visiting a Bloomington cannabis dispensary near Illinois State University on Aug. 24. His abandoned car was found two days later in a wooded area in Peru, about two miles away from the Illinois River. Police do not know why Day traveled to Peru, nor if there was anyone else in the car with him. The investigation is ongoing.
In a statement, Day’s family said they are also committed to finding the truth.
“… Throughout these 30 days, our very first concern was finding Jelani, and now we need to find out #WhatHappenedToJelaniDay,” they said. “At this moment, there are more questions than answers surrounding Jelani’s disappearance and death and that is where we will focus our energy. As of this moment, we do not know what happened to Jelani and we will not stop until we do.”