Jelani Day’s Mother, Rev. Jesse Jackson Call For A State Or Federal Investigation Into The Illinois Student’s Death

They rejected the newly released coroner’s autopsy report, which they called ‘insulting.’

At a rally in Peru, Ill., on Tuesday (Oct. 26), family and supporters of Jelani Day called for outside agencies to investigate exactly what led to the death of the Illinois State University graduate student, WGLT reports.

They cast doubt on the LaSalle County coroner’s autopsy report, released on Monday (Oct. 25), that found no evidence of trauma to Day’s body, which was found on Sept. 4 in the Illinois River in Peru, about an hour and 45 minutes southwest of Chicago, more than a week after he was reported missing, according to NPR.

The coroner officially ruled his death a drowning, but Day’s family dismissed suggestions that he committed suicide and now want either state or federal agencies to investigate.

At the rally on Tuesday, Day’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day, said she was “insulted” by the coroner’s conclusion that her son drowned.

“Jelani was an avid swimmer, and an avid swimmer doesn’t drown himself,” Day said. “Jelani didn’t have depression or mental issues. Those are indicative of someone that had suicidal thoughts. That’s not what my son had.”

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Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition were the lead organizers of the march. Speaking at Illinois State University on Monday, the civil rights leader said he rejected the coroner’s finds, according to WGLT.

“He was up to (a place) where he had never been before. It’s insane. We don’t believe that,” Jackson told reporters and members of the Illinois State University Black Student Union.

Jackson added, “Local investigators cannot be trusted with this. We need the state attorney general (Kwame Raoul), a federal investigation, the FBI, the Department of Justice, (and) President Biden.”

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Day disappeared under mysterious conditions, according to police. He was last seen on August 24 on surveillance footage entering a dispensary in Bloomington, Illinois. His vehicle was located in Peru on August 26, which is approximately 60 miles away from the dispensary.

On Tuesday, Bolden Day and Rainbow PUSH Coalition members led a tour along the Illinois River where Jelani’s car was found “concealed” in the woods about a mile from where the police said his body was found. His belongings were discovered in a separate location.

“My son ain’t coming into the woods to hang out, that’s not what he did, ever in all the 25 years of me raising him and knowing him,” Day said. “This wouldn’t have been Jelani’s hangout spot.”

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