Photo: Day family / Twitter
  /  10.20.2021

Jelani Day, the 25-year-old Illinois graduate student whose body was identified last month, was laid to rest on Tuesday (Oct. 19). According to CNN, around 30 people attended the young man’s Danville, Illinois funeral service; including civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“I just saw one of the best things that God blessed me with go in the ground and I will never get to talk to him or see him again… I don’t even have words to tell you what it’s like,” Jelani’s mother Carmen Bolden Day said after the funeral.

“I don’t know why I’m burying Jelani. I don’t know what happened to Jelani, so I don’t have any closure,” she added.

Jelani was reported missing in Bloomington, Illinois on Aug. 25 and his vehicle was discovered one day later in Peru, Illinois. An initial search for the student on Aug. 26 was unsuccessful, Bloomington police officer John Fermon said.

However, following a tip, authorities discovered a body floating in the Illinois River on Sept. 4; which, tragically, was identified to be Jelani almost three weeks later. The cause of his death is still unknown pending police’s ongoing investigation.

Jelani’s funeral arrives as his family is still searching for answers about his disappearance and death. As reported by REVOLT, two autopsies have found conflicting results, with one private forensic pathologist saying the young man’s organs were “completely liquified.”

Jelani’s mother later clarified that the two autopsies produced contradictory findings and said she does not believe her son was the victim of organ harvesting.

“However, my son did not put himself in a river,” she stated at the time. “My son was murdered and my goal and purpose are to find out what happened and hold those responsible accountable.”

Jelani’s siblings, however, previously called for a third autopsy due to the contradictory findings.

According to CNN, Rev. Jackson has been supporting the family in their quest for justice. The 80-year-old called on the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to “conduct a thorough investigation because it smells like another Emmett Till case all over again,” referring to the 14-year-old boy who was kidnapped, tortured and lynched in 1955. Jackson added that he is “committed to helping Mrs. Day.”


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