Thousands of people have signed a petition launched by an Alabama fraternity demanding justice for Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day, who was found dead following his “suspicious” disappearance this summer.
With more than 26,000 signatures on Thursday, the petition, launched by members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and the Nu Epsilon chapter of Alabama A&M University, calls on federal and state authorities to resume the investigation, alleging the department Bloomington Police Department “has shown its inability to handle a case of this nature.
“Jelani is loved and represents the best of our beloved brotherhood; therefore, bringing those responsible for this heinous act to justice is not a demand but a demand,” the petition says. “The person (s) responsible for Jelani’s death are now liberating our community, and we will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice.”
The petition follows similar criticism from Day’s family, who alleged his case had not caught the attention of other missing people like Gabby Petito, whose disappearance and subsequent death made headlines. national newspapers and resulted in multi-state research by numerous law enforcement agencies.
Day’s mother also recently cited undisclosed discrepancies between an autopsy performed by the LaSalle County coroner’s office and an independent autopsy ordered by the family.
Yet she has also recently sought to dispel rumors and misconceptions about the case.
“Family, we need to take a break for a moment,” a Facebook page read Monday calling for justice for Day. “As outraged and upset as we are, we must stay the course and stick to the facts in our search for answers.”
Reports have surfaced in recent days that Day’s body was missing several organs when an independent autopsy was ordered by the family.
LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch told NBC 5 in a statement that “some were badly decomposed due to the body being in the water,” but he noted that no organs were missing.
“No organ was missing. I don’t want to stray from the facts,” Day’s mother Carmen Bolden Day said in a statement. “There were conflicting facts from the first preliminary autopsy versus the second independent autopsy, but this is not an organ harvesting case, however, my son did not jump into a river.”
She did not comment further on the “conflicting facts” she cited between autopsies, but continued to scream for answers.
“My son was murdered and my goal and my goal is to find out what happened and to hold those responsible to account !!!” she wrote.
Day, a graduate student from Illinois State University, went missing on August 24 and was reported missing shortly after by his family and a professor. His car was found two days later in a wooded area near where his body was eventually found in the Illinois River in what police called “unusual circumstances”.
Little information has been released since Day’s body was identified weeks after its discovery in September in the Illinois River near Peru, a suburb in the far southwest of Chicago. The location was miles from where Day had been last seen, but not far from where his car had been discovered a few days earlier.
The coroner reported that the body was discovered on September 4 “floating near the south bank of the Illinois River about ¼ mile east of the Illinois Rt. 251 bridge”.
The cause and mode of death have not yet been disclosed, and Ploch said those details “will still take some time” pending toxicology and histology reports.
“Then the police departments need the help explaining how he ended up in the water,” Ploch said.
Bloomington Police Public Information Officer John Fermon said Day’s car location was remarkable to investigators.
“To me it’s unusual, the way his vehicle was, you know, it came out of a parking lot inside, it wasn’t like in the back of a wood, but it was out of it. parking, ”Fermon said. “This is unusual in itself. There isn’t much I can publish at this point. So to really state the obvious – it’s unusual.”
Police declined to provide many details of the ongoing investigation, but said Day went missing under “unexplained suspicious circumstances.”
“It is a suspicious or unusual circumstance while he was reported missing, and then [the car’s location was] also, you know, pretty suspicious or unusual and I’ve been a police officer for 10 years, “Fermon said.” It’s very unusual to find a car like that. “
Police investigating the disappearance of an Illinois State University graduate student are asking the public for advice as the search for the young man continues nearly a month after his disappearance.
Day’s family and a teacher reported him missing on August 25 after he failed to show up to class for several days.
The previous morning, Day was caught on surveillance video entering a dispensary in Bloomington. Two days later, police found his car in the woods 60 miles away in Peru, Illinois. Police said the clothes he was last seen in the surveillance video were found in his white Chrysler 300.
Day’s mother said it’s not his style to disappear without telling someone where he was.
Bolden said she doesn’t think her son ran away and thinks someone may have hurt her son.
“He wasn’t depressed. He didn’t have any kind of pressure that would make him want to escape life,” she said. “So I feel like there was someone involved.”
Several departments, including the FBI, are participating in the investigation, authorities confirmed.
Day graduated from Alabama A&M University with a degree in speech-language pathology. Bolden said his son was inspired to follow this career path after seeing a friend wrestle.