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  • Sarah Turney

Jelani Day

25-year-old Jelani Day from Bloomington, Illinois was last seen leaving the Beyond/Hello Dispensary around 9:20am on August 24th, 2021. His body was later recovered an hour away in Peru, Illinois on September 4th. Jelani’s official cause of death is listed as drowning. Authorities are hesitant to say that foul play was involved in Jelani’s death, but his family and many others are certain it was. Especially since Jelani was a black man found deceased in a city with a long history of racism.


#WhatHappenedToJelaniDay


Anyone with information about Jelani’s disappearance or death is urged to contact their local FBI office or submit an anonymous tip online at tips.fbi.gov


Follow the Justice for Jelani Day Facebook Page

Sign the Petition

Donate to Jelani's GoFundMe


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Research assistance for this episode was provided by Lina Gookooluk.


Resources:

Abbott, Ella. “Sundown Towns in Indiana: How a Legacy of 'Whites-Only' Towns Rose and Continues to Affect Today.” Northeast Indiana Public Radio, 22 Sept. 2020, https://www.wboi.org/news/2020-09-17/sundown-towns-in-indiana-how-a-legacy-of-whites-only-towns-rose-and-continues-to-affect-today.


ABC 7 Chicago. What Happened to Jelani Day? 3rd Autopsy ... - Youtube.com. 30 Oct. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGk9OgFW9gE.


ABC News. FBI Is Still Searching for Answers in Jelani ... - Youtube.com. 30 Sept. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ihovAla_ys.


ABC7 Chicago Digital Team. “FBI Offering $10K Reward for Information in Death of ISU Student Jelani Day.” ABC7 Chicago, WLS-TV, 13 Dec. 2021, https://abc7chicago.com/jelani-day-update-cause-of-death-fbi/11334599/.


Andrea Cavallier. “Mother of Missing Illinois State University Grad Student Jelani Day Pleads for His Safe Return.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 1 Sept. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/mother-missing-illinois-state-university-grad-student-jelani-day-pleads-n1278080.


The Associated Press. Jelani Day's Death Leaves Unanswered Questions: 'Our Hearts Are Broken,' Family Says. 24 Sept. 2021, https://www.al.com/news/2021/09/jelani-days-death-leaves-unanswered-questions-our-hearts-are-broken-family-says.html.


“Ben Crump- Trial Lawyer for Justice.” Ben Crump, 21 Jan. 2022, https://bencrump.com/.


Bloomington Police Department. Missing Person - Jelani Day - Updated Photo / Last Known Clothing Description. 31 Aug. 2021, https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=26877&t=637656763088692541.


Bolden, Dacara. “Justice for Jelani Day!!!” Gofundme.com, https://www.gofundme.com/f/find-jelani-day?utm_campaign=p_cp%2Bshare-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.


Carlson, Peter. “When Signs Said 'Get out'.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 21 Feb. 2006, https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/20/AR2006022001590.html.


Carr, Gwen. “Ben Crump Is on the 2021 time100 List.” Time, Time, 15 Sept. 2021, https://time.com/collection/100-most-influential-people-2021/6095807/ben-crump/.


Caruso, James L. “Decomposition Changes in Bodies Recovered from Water.” Academic Forensic Pathology, SAGE Publications, Mar. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474513/.


Denham, Ryan. “Coroner Says Jelani Day Drowned, with No Evidence of Trauma before His Death.” WGLT, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2021-10-25/coroner-says-jelani-day-drowned-with-no-evidence-of-trauma-before-his-death.


Denham, Ryan. “Rev. Jesse Jackson Invited to ISU Student Meeting Ahead of Jelani Day March in Peru.” WGLT, 25 Oct. 2021, https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2021-10-25/rev-jesse-jackson-invited-to-isu-student-meeting-ahead-of-jelani-day-march-in-peru.


Denison, Brendan, and Sierra Henry. “Peru Police Chief: FBI Asked to Take over Jelani Day Case.” Pantagraph.com, 22 Oct. 2021, https://pantagraph.com/news/local/public_safety/peru-police-chief-fbi-asked-to-take-over-jelani-day-case/article_2afcb47c-a4f5-55e9-a729-e0df7cc654bb.html#tracking-source=article-related-bottom.


Doctor Oz. What Really Happened to Aspiring Doctor ... - Youtube.com. 27 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8WiGRdfpgY.


Fountain, John W. Some Things No Mother Should Have to Endure. Chicago Sun-Times, 9 Oct. 2021, https://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/2021/10/8/22717326/jelani-day-peru-illinois-homicide-john-fountain.


“Graduate Programs.” Graduate Programs | Communication Sciences and Disorders | Illinois State University, https://csd.illinoisstate.edu/graduate/student-success/overview/.


Illinois State University CSD Department. “Cara Boester, Director of Clinical Education — SLP, Gives Her Own Unique, Entertaining, and Touching Congratulations to All Students in the 2020 MSSLP ‘Green Group’ Cohort. Thank You, Cara! Congratulations, Graduates!” Facebook, 17 May 2020, https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=294207521600848.


Illinois State University. Communication Sciences Disorders Academic and Clinical Education Manual.


“Jelani Day Press Conference during Funeral Services .” Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 19 Oct. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiJDQu5Bya0.


“Jelani Day.” The News Gazette, 7 Oct. 2021, https://www.news-gazette.com/obituaries/jelani-day/article_9bba2188-26fa-11ec-bc2e-933e1ff62871.html.


“Jelani Day's Mother Pushes Back on Report.” NewsNation Now, 11 Oct. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rnu5eiemVvA.


“Jelani Day’s Mother Says the Media Isn’t ... .” Tamron Hall Show, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32gRi24it64.


Jimenez, Omar. “Jelani Day's Cause of Death Was Drowning but It's Still Unknown How He Got in the Water, Coroner Writes.” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/25/us/jelani-day-illinois-coroner/index.html.


“Justice for Jelani Day.” Change.org, https://www.change.org/p/sign-this-petition-to-bring-justice-for-jelani-demand-that-the-fbi-intervenes-to-find-out-what-happened-to-jelani-day.


“Justice for Jelani Day.” Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Justice-for-Jelani-Day-109701681441798.


LaSalle County Coroner's Office. LaSalle Coroner's Office Identifies the Male ... - Cityblm.org. 23 Sept. 2021, https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=26973&t=637680058096772822.


Lazaroff, Katari, and Steven Lazaroff. “'See for Yourself': The Lynching of Jelani Day.” Rampant Magazine, 29 Oct. 2021, https://rampantmag.com/2021/10/see-for-yourself-the-lynching-of-jelani-day/.


Lee, Craig T. “Jelani Day's Cell Phone Recovered as Investigation Continues.” BET, 14 Nov. 2021, https://www.bet.com/article/3n0rgr/jelani-day-isu-student-cell-phone-police-investigation.


“Many Miners Destitute.” Chicago Tribune, 25 June 1889, p. 1. Newsapapers.com.


“Missing Isu Grad Student Jelani Day's Loved Ones Continue Search in Bloomington.” WJBC AM 1230, 9 Sept. 2021, https://www.wjbc.com/2021/09/02/missing-isu-grad-student-jelani-days-loved-ones-continue-search-in-bloomington/.


Nardi, Sarah. “Supporters of Jelani Day March in Bloomington-Normal to Demand Answers.” WGLT, 6 Nov. 2021, https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2021-11-05/supporters-of-jelani-day-march-in-bloomington-normal-to-demand-answers.


NewsNationNow. FBI Offers $10K Reward for Information in ... - Youtube.com. 13 Dec. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b8gqoWP-Cw.


Newsy. Jelani Day's Mother Says Her Son's Missing ... - Youtube.com. 11 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQjwwxzwAEg.


Newsy. What Happened to Jelani Day? A One-on-One ... - Youtube.com. 24 Sept. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFbX9qYmm6M.


Onibada, Ade. “How the Legacy of Sundown Towns Affects Black Travelers.” BuzzFeed News, 28 July 2021, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/adeonibada/sundown-towns-racism-black-drivers-tiktok.


Planas, Antonio. “Jelani Day's Mother Begs for FBI to Take over Her Son's Death Investigation.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 3 Dec. 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jelani-days-mother-begs-fbi-take-sons-death-investigation-rcna7541.


Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jelani Day Update. 8 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxjsgnOLvtY.


Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Press Conference: Rev. Jackson to Join Civil ... - Youtube.com. 3 Dec. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imCvrolDoqw.


Schlenker, Charlie. “No Significant Clues in Newly Released Jelani Day Toxicology Report.” WGLT, 15 Oct. 2021, https://www.wglt.org/local-news/2021-10-15/jelani-day-toxicology-report-shows-caffeine-nicotine-and-marijuana.


Seales, Chance. “Jelani Day's Mother Speaks to Newsy about His Disappearance.” Newsy, Newsy, 20 Sept. 2021, https://www.newsy.com/stories/mother-of-missing-student-jelani-day-speaks-to-newsy/.


Sederstrom, Jill. “Remains Found in River Positively Identified as Missing Illinois State University Graduate Student Jelani Day.” Oxygen Official Site, Oxygen, 24 Sept. 2021, https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/remains-found-in-river-positively-identified-jelani-day.

“See It for Yourself.” Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/?gl=ES.


“‘See It for Yourself. There Is No Way.” Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byonE_dxs8M.


“‘See It for Yourself. There Is No Way.” Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk4WjrTIJpw.


Watznauer, Kelsey. “Read the Documents: LaSalle County Emails Give Insight into Jelani Day Investigation.” Pantagraph.com, 30 Dec. 2021, https://pantagraph.com/news/local/public_safety/read-the-documents-lasalle-county-emails-give-insight-into-jelani-day-investigation/article_9e442c74-a831-5f56-b2ad-fb0e4edd15c9.html.


Watznauer, Kelsey. “Why Hasn't the FBI Taken the Lead on the Jelani Day Death Investigation?” Pantagraph.com, 17 Jan. 2022, https://pantagraph.com/news/local/public_safety/why-hasnt-the-fbi-taken-the-lead-on-the-jelani-day-death-investigation/article_11a32670-8303-5aa2-89c1-096dcc9e255a.html.

“‘See It for Yourself. There Is No Way.” Rainbow PUSH Coalition, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byonE_dxs8M.

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