Jelani Day had everything going for him and his whole life ahead of him. In the fall of 2021, Jelani was enrolled in graduate school at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, near Bloomington. He had a great relationship with his family, and was driven. He had plans for the future--plans that would sadly, never come to fruition.
Jelani Day was last seen on surveillance at the Beyond/Hello Cannabis Dispensary in Bloomington. When he failed to show up for classes and to get in touch with his mother, she reported him missing on August 25, 2021. Two days later, his car was founded abandoned in a wooded area in Peru, Illinois--about 70 miles from his last known location. Jelani had no known ties to Peru.
In the surrounding area, Jelani's wallet and ID lanyard were found in separate locations.
On September 4, Jelani's body was found floating near the south bank of the Illinois river near Illinois route 251 in Peru, Illinois. Although it would take authorities 19 days to officially declare that the body found was Jelani's.
On November 12, 2021, officials announced that they had located Jelani's cell phone on the Interstate near Bloomington.
As coverage for the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito took over airwaves in the late summer/fall, Jelani Day's mother wondered why her son's case wasn't receiving the same media attention.
In this episode, the facts and timeline of Jelani Day's last known movements are discussed, as well as what scenario could have caused this ambitious young man to be found deceased in the Illinois river despite being an avid swimmer.
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Let's make sure Jelani's case doesn't go cold.