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As Jelani Day’s Family Seeks Justice, Coroners Uncover Gruesome Details

Investigators are still trying to determine what happened to the aspiring doctor who went missing, but only details about how his body was found extremely decomposed have emerged.

Carmen Bolden Day had to wait a month to be able to see the body of her son, Jelani  who was found dead in the Illinois River on Sept. 4. But the fact that she had to wait so long, according to an article series published in the Chicago Sun-Times, only worsens the questions about what happened to him after she went missing Aug. 24.
Although no suspects have been taken into custody, and no one has been questioned yet, foul play is suspected by the family. According to the Chicago Tribune, the 25-year-old was a graduate of Alabama A&M. He was in his second semester at Illinois State University for speech pathology.
Day disappeared under mysterious conditions, according to police, and when the LaSalle County, Ill., coroners office contacted his mother, they went through a back and forth about dental records, and she was left more confused about the office’s procedures.
The Pantagraph, a Bloomington-Normal, Ill. newspaper reported a backlog of more than 3,700 DNA cases through the end of August and that the average turnaround time for results was 81 days. The Illinois State Police and the LaSalle County Coroners Office has not been able to explain why Jelani Day’s results were not made available, even though they were “expedited.”
RELATED: Jelani Day’s Body Found In Illinois River, Coroner Confirms
Bolden Day accuses the coroner of moving at a slow pace, saying he barked at her, “Do you want us to identify your son or not?”  Her attorney Hallie M. Bezner said that she told the coroner he had no right to speak to her client that way.
The next day, Jelani Day’s body was positively identified, but the Illinois River had badly decomposed the body as it lay there, according to the Sun-Times. According to the coroner, there were no eyeballs, his jawbone had been “sawed out” and Day was missing his front top and bottom teeth, and the organs were “completely liquefied” due to the amount of time  the body was in the river.
Bezner said it’s possible the family’s private forensic pathologist will not be able to find a brain, organs, liver, or spleen. She said she is looking for plausible scientific explanations about what happened to him.
Bezner told The Chicago Sun Times, “I’m really trying to ask questions and not go down the path of a lot of conspiracy because I think it’s easy to go that way.” Day’s mother did not view his body, but his grandmother and one of his brothers did. Bezner advised her not to see the remains.
“He was in such bad shape,” she said. “It’s just a heartbreaking story, for sure.”
"Whatever it takes to find out what happened to him, that's what I want them to do," Bolden Day said in an appearance on ABC News. "I want them to use their tools and their resources so that we can find out what happened to Jelani, because he did not disappear into thin air."
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition is urging a federal investigation of Jelani Day’s death and more than 22,000 have signed. The FBI has told The Pantagraph that it is assisting in the investigation, but details are unclear.

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