Jelani Day (308772)
Credit: Family photo

Reports indicate that a body found in the Illinois River has been identified as Jelani Day, a 25-year-old Black graduate student from Illinois State University who has been missing since Aug. 25.

In a press release by the local law enforcement, Day was identified through forensic dental identification and DNA testing and comparison. Currently, the cause of death is unknown pending further investigation and toxicology testing.

Day’s family reported they last spoke with him on Aug. 23. He was seen at the Illinois State University campus on Aug. 24, and his last known location was at Beyond Hello in Bloomington on Aug. 26. Day’s vehicle was located in Peru, Illinois.

Based on findings by the Peru Police Department when recovering the vehicle, a command post was established and an extensive K9 search was conducted by the Illinois State Police, drone aerial searches by Peru Fire and Utica Fire as well as a ground search by teams from Peru, Utica, and Oglesby.

Subsequent searches were conducted in the Peru area and Jelani was not located. On September 4, 2021, an additional search was conducted in the LaSalle Peru area by members of the Illinois Search and Rescue Council along with other search

agencies in the area. During the search a male decedent was recovered floating near the south bank of the Illinois River.