Over the course of the past year, several events have occurred since Illinois State University graduate student, Jelani Day, was reported missing. He was last seen on surveillance footage on August 24, 2021at Beyond Hello in Bloomington, Illinois.
Day’s body was then found in the Illinois River in Peru, Illinois on September 4th, but it wasn’t identified as his until nearly 3 weeks later on the 23rd. As his family continued to search for answers, his cell phone and 2010 Chrysler 300 were located as well.
His mother, Carmen Bolden Day, finds it suspicious Peru Police Department has made no arrests with those pieces of evidence in their possession.
“Apple can’t help me, the cameras can’t help me. Nobody can help,” said Bolden-Day. “To me that’s unfair and we were treated unfairly.”
As the investigation carried on, Bolden-Day said the Peru Police Department officers spent more time questioning who Jelani was rather than what happened to him. “They stereotyped my son by his car, and the place he lived,” Bolden Day shared. “They were trying to figure out what things they could find out about him instead of finding him.”
Bolden-Day went to the Peru Police Department last month to demand answers. She started a Facebook live video while there and showed Jelani’s car and said it didn’t appear police surveyed the vehicle as they guaranteed.
She found that strange.
“Somebody had to be going in and out of his car right?” Bolden asked. “There should be a protocol that evidence and tape should be dated and initialed, but it wasn’t in this case.”
The Chicago Defender reached out to the Peru Police Department and they provided this statement:
“The investigation into the death of Jelani Day remains ongoing. Complex death investigations take time to thoroughly investigate, and the Jelani Day Joint Task Force is employing all available investigative techniques to bring this case to a resolution as soon as possible. The task force continues to solicit tips from the public, and the $10,000 reward for substantial information regarding Day’s final hours remains active. We will need to decline your request for an interview at this time to protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation. There is currently no additional information available for release.”
Bolden doesn’t think Peru PD is giving their best effort. “The reflection shows me that they do piss-poor police work,” Bolden said.
Chicago Defender reached out to the FBI Chicago office which is now overseeing Jelani Day’s case and said there is no update in the investigation.