As the conversation continues online around missing Black men and women not receiving enough media attention following Joy Reid’s statements, we want to direct you to 25-year-old Jelani Day. A missing graduate student at Illinois State University who is studying to become a doctor. According to police records, Jelani has been missing since August 24th. He was last seen on surveillance video entering a store in Bloomington called Beyond/Hello. According to People, the Day family reported Jelani missing the following day after they made several attempts to reach him but were unsuccessful.
In addition, police reports state Jelani didn’t show up to class for several days, which also prompted concern with faculty members at the university. Jelani has been missing for nearly a month. Although some information has been discovered, his mother still has questions. On Aug. 26th, officers from the Peru Police Department responded to a report about an abandoned vehicle in a wooded area south of the Illinois Valley YMCA.
Once authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered Jelani’s white 2010 Chrysler 300, concealed by trees and articles of clothing that he wore the day he went missing, but there was no sign of the missing student. The News-Gazette reports an unidentified male was found near the Illinois River on Sept. 4th, but the LaSalle County coroner says it can take several weeks until the identification is determined. Jelani’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day, is hopeful that it isn’t her son.
In a recent interview, Carmen spoke with Newsy about the case and the lack of information from law enforcement. “We don’t have a lot of information. I don’t feel like I’m getting the help that I need,” said Carmen. “I’m imploring, pleading, and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son.” In addition, Carmen is frustrated that her son, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., isn’t getting coverage compared to Gabby Petito.
“Jelani hadn’t been getting the coverage. Jelani has been missing for 24 days, and as I said, it seems like the effort to find him has slacked down. I know about Gabby, the missing girl, and she’s been missing for two days, and her face is plastered everywhere, and the FBI is involved, and I do not understand why Jelani doesn’t get that same coverage.”
The Day family is offering a $25,000 reward for information that can help their case and has also asked the public to reach out to their private investigator with tips. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Day family, and we wish Jelani a safe return.
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