The mother of Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day has hired civil rights attorney, Ben Crump, to investigate the death of her son. She believes her son was “murdered.”
Carmen Bolden Day said in a statement released by the Rev. Jesse Jackson that Crump “feels Jelani is also his brother, and he wants to help find more answers and so do I,” The Associated Press writes.
Crump has gained notoriety for representing the families of victims of police brutality and violence. Notably, his representation has helped the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, just to name a few.
A LaSalle County coroner ruled Day’s death to be a drowning, but it remains unclear how he ended up in the Illinois River. The coroner stated the autopsy provided no evidence of “manual strangulation, an assault, or altercation, sharp, blunt or gunshot injury.”
Despite the autopsy, Day, the Rev. Jackson, and Ben Crump are looking to provide a more thorough investigation.
Jelani Day was last seen on ISU’s campus on August 24. After several days of class absences, Day’s family and a faculty member reported the 25-year-old missing. Two days later, his car was found in Peru, Illinois, which is roughly 60 miles north of the Bloomington, Illinois campus. On September 4, his body was discovered in the Illinois River in the area of LaSalle-Peru. On November 12, authorities said his cell phone was discovered by a Bloomington interstate and turned over to the FBI for investigative purposes.