Search continues for missing Illinois graduate student Jelani Day; his mother speaks out

The 25-year-old was heading toward a medical degree and a member of Omega Psi Phi, has been missing since his car was found abandoned on Aug. 26

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A graduate student at Illinois State University disappeared last month and his family is desperate for answers. 

Jelani Day, 25, was last seen on the morning of Aug. 24, according to the Bloomington Police Department, PEOPLE reports. His family reported him missing the next day after their unsuccessful attempts to reach him. The aspiring doctor also missed several days of classes, according to the missing persons report

Day, a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, was seen on surveillance footage entering a store called Beyond/Hello in Bloomington. On Aug. 26, his white 2010 Chrysler 300 was reportedly found abandoned in a wooded area near the Illinois Valley YMCA. Officers with the Peru Police Department inspected the vehicle and found the clothing Day was wearing when he was last seen. 

“Upon a search of law enforcement computerized files, it was determined the vehicle was a vehicle of interest in a missing person case out of Bloomington, Illinois. The vehicle was one belonging to Mr. Jelani J. Day, age 25 of Bloomington, Illinois,” police state in the missing person report.

Day’s whereabouts remain unknown and an investigation into his disappearance is ongoing.

“Jelani has been missing for several days in unexplained suspicious circumstances,” a statement released by Peru Police read. “Jelani is described as a male Black, 25 years of age, 6 feet, two inches tall, 180 pounds with short black hair, brown eyes, and some facial hair.”

Day’s brother, Seve Day, says he’s “never giving up.”

“This is my little brother,” he tweeted alongside a copy of the missing persons report. “He been missing for 3 weeks as of today now. Please help me and my family find him, one retweet can make a huge difference. I love him so much #FindJelaniDay I’m never giving up.”

Day’s mother, Carmen Bolden Day explained to Newsy, “We don’t have a lot of information.”

Day’s wallet was found on an unknown street, according to his mother. She says someone called police to say they saw an unidentified person drop it, but hours later, and she also says her son’s school lanyard was located near a river where an unidentified body was recently found.

“Jelani is energetic, he’s full of life, and he’s goal-driven,” Bolden Day told Newsy. “He knows what he wants and his goal was to be Dr. Jelani Day.”

“I don’t feel like I am getting the help that I need,” she said.”I feel like since this body has been found, and as I said it is unidentified, I don’t truly believe that it is my son. It appears that help has ceased so I’m imploring, pleading, and asking that the police still pay attention, still look for my son as vigilantly as they were prior to finding this unidentified body.”

His fraternity is helping spread the word as well. 

“Help us bring. Bro Jelani Day (’18 NE) home safe. If you have any information or have seen Jelani please contact BFD Dispatch 309-820-8888 or contact Det. Paul Jones at 309-434-2548 or,” Day’s fraternity tweeted.

Bolden Day said during their last conversation her son said ‘Okay mama, I just wanted to hear your voice.’ And that was our last conversation on Aug. 23.”

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