Jelani Day‘s former fraternity as well as his mother are calling for federal authorities to take over the investigation into the 25-year-old’s death.
Day was a graduate student at Illinois State University. He disappeared in August. He was last seen at Bloomington’s store, two miles from his school. According to authorities, his body was discovered floating in the Illinois River last month. His cause of death and the manner in which it occurred are not yet known.
The Nu Epsilon chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Alabama A&M University started a petition Thursday and included a letter they wrote to federal and state authorities expressing concern over the Bloomington Police Department’s handling of the case.
Day graduated from the school with a bachelor’s degree in 2018 and was a member of the fraternity, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. A letter attached to the petition stated that the Bloomington Police Department is currently conducting the investigation. However, we are deeply concerned by the agency’s inability to handle such a case. Jelani is beloved and represents the best of our beloved fraternity. Therefore, bringing those responsible are not a request but a demand. “
“The person or persons responsible for Jelani’s death are now free to walk our community, and we won’t rest until they are brought to justice,” continued the letter.
More than 27,000 people had signed the petition as of Saturday afternoon.
Day’s mother Carmen Bolden Day shared the petition via her Facebook page. Bolden Day, also known as Larae Sunshine Bolden, encouraged others sign the petition. We need answers! We DEMAND answers,” she wrote.
The Bloomington Police Department didn’t immediately respond to a Saturday comment request. Multiple agencies assist Bloomington police, including the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit, the Peru Police Department and the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office. The LaSalle Police Department and Illinois State Police.
Day is a first-year graduate student at Illinois State University in Normal’s communication sciences and disorders department. He was studying speech pathology.
He was last seen on campus Aug. 24, and his last known location was at Beyond/Hello cannabis dispensary in Bloomington, law enforcement officials have said. His car was discovered in Peru two days after his disappearance.
Reports have emerged that Day’s organs may be missing since Day’s death. LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch told NBC Chicago those reports are inaccurate and that “some [organs] were severely decomposed due to the body being in the water,” but none were missing.
Very little information on the case has been released by law enforcement. The LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that investigators are reviewing “hundreds of hours of security video.” The Illinois River was searched recently for items that could be related to this case. However, nothing was found.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.