Senate Bill 3932, known as the Jelani Day Bill, passed through the Senate on February 24 in the Illinois General Assembly has now moved to the house to become law. “I cried tears of joy that my son is making an impact to help other families,” Carmen Bolden Day, Jelani’s mother, said. The day the bill passed marked six months since Jelani was reported missing in August 2021.
The bill would require the FBI to get involved if the coroner and medical examiner can’t identify human remains within 72 hours after discovery. The Senate Bill 3932 was sponsored by 17th District Illinois State Sen. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago). “When you hear pleas from a family for help, we should be using all the tools at our disposal to bring them the support that they need to help find or identify their loved ones. Unfortunately, some smaller counties and police departments do not have access to the same technology and resources as larger cities, and this bill will help with that,” says Sims.
Day, a graduate of Illinois State University, disappeared on August 24. Day’s mother was frustrated with the police handling of her son’s death investigation. She criticized investigators for not moving promptly, which was crucial. The Day family hired Ben Crump as one of their attorneys. On September 4, 2021, Day’s body was found floating in the Illinois River in Peru, IL, 60 miles from where Day graduated from college.
The LaSalle County coroner ruled Day’s death a drowning. Jelani’s mother and her attorneys reject that notion. She wants the FBI to investigate the case as a hate crime. The FBI is still investigating Day’s death and offering a $10,000 reward for anyone with information regarding Day’s death. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
A GoFundMe, Justice for Jelani Day, has raised over $50,000.
Tammy Gibson is an author, re-enactor, and black history traveler. Find her on social media @sankofatravelher.