An update into the disappearance of Illinois graduate student, Jelani Day, has been made following his family's plea for answers.
Many have called attention to Day's case because it is one of the many disappearances of people of color that get substantially less coverage compared to that of white women...
With Gabby Petito's case being one of the main sources of controversy.
Day was last seen on CCTV footage in a store in Bloomington on August 24th.
His family reported him missing the following day after several failed attempts to contact him. He had also missed classes at Illinois State University, where he was studying to become a doctor.
In this footage, captured at 9:12 AM, Day was wearing a blue Detroit Lions baseball hat, a black shirt, white shorts, and black shoes.
Bloomington Police Department found his vehicle just days after he was reported missing.
On August 26th, his white 2010 Chrysler 300 was discovered near the Illinois Valley YMCA covered in branches after a member of the public called the police.
The clothing that Day was wearing when he was last seen was found in the woodland surrounding the car, but Day himself was not found.
Something about Jelani Day staring directly at the camera is very chilling. You could tell something was wrong. Is that his phone in his hands? Where did the phone ping last? Was his car caught on any other camera? Cops need to share more info. SOMEONE must’ve seen him or his car pic.twitter.com/wUerOg6Urh— Secrets of a Socialite (@socialitetips) September 23, 2021
"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," the missing person's report read, as per PEOPLE.
Three weeks after his last sighting, his family is appealed to the police and public for help finding Day.
"This is my little brother. He's 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," his brother Seve wrote on Twitter.
"We don't have a lot of information. I don't feel like I'm getting the help that I need... I'm imploring, pleading, and asking that the police still pay attention and look for my son," his mother Carmen told Newsy.
Day's fraternity Omega Psi Phi also contributed to the effort. "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 firstname.lastname@example.org," it tweeted.
As per NBC Chicago, Day's mother said that she wants police to give her son the same amount of resources as they've given to help find Gabby Petito...
"It's been 29 days today, I need to know where my son is. I want to find my son," Bolden said. "I need them to use all the resources that I just watch them make available to Gabby Petito and her family."
Many people have also called out the differences in the way the 2 cases have been handled...
I wish the media would talk about Jelani Day the way they’ve talked about gabby….he is STILL missing! Or how about the 710 (mostly girls) missing indigenous people who are missing near the same location Gabby Petito.— Nilsa Prowant (@nillythesquid) September 23, 2021
i know we've all been so wrapped up in this gabby petito case, but jelani day has also been missing. social media was a huge factor in finding gabby's body so let's put fourth that same effort for jelani. pic.twitter.com/pxMVQimi7z— rosie ♉︎ (@rorodababy) September 21, 2021
Sadly, this story has a tragic ending as a body that was discovered earlier this month, has now been confirmed as Day.
His name is Jelani Day, a 25-year-old Illinois State University Graduate. Somebody's loved one and son.— Raleigh Bowman (@RaleighBowman) September 23, 2021
-Body found Sep 4th.
-Identified Sep 23rd
You probably haven't heard of him because we have two systems in America.
Our condolences are with the family. pic.twitter.com/937GrY1kfw
People are devastated by the news...
Man the Jelani Day news was a punch in the gut 😢 Now let’s see the FBI give SAME ENERGY to finding out what happened to him as they are Gabby Petito. ✊🏾 Rest is Power Black Man pic.twitter.com/mpdLnWkXdc— TJ Norris (@Tj_Norris) September 23, 2021
Rest In Power Jelani Day.— M A D A M (@MadamThermite) September 23, 2021
I know your story didn't get the same traction as Gabby Petito's, and will not get it, but it's a lot of people out here thinking about you.
My condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/6t0X6Sehl5
NEW: Coroner confirms that the body found in the Illinois River is Jelani Day.— Chip Franklin🏛InsideTheBeltway.com (@chipfranklin) September 23, 2021
Who else wants to see Jelani get the same justice Gabby Petito deserves? 🖐️ pic.twitter.com/6wh4StHpSq
The news today has broken my heart. Jelani’s body has been recovered. All focus now needs to be directed at finding out what happened to him and sending love and prayers to his entire family and his friends. 🤍#JELANIDAY #IllinoisStateUniversity pic.twitter.com/DKvndr6hvq— Jackie Jennings (@JackiexLynn_) September 23, 2021
His body was found by police floating along the Illinois River close to where his car was parked on September 4th...
But has finally been confirmed by the coroner to be the graduate student.
At the time, officials said identifying the body could take months due to the condition it was in.
If you didn’t think there was any media bias before, just know that Gabby Petito’s remains were covered before she was even identified. 3 WEEKS they had Jelani Day and nothing was said. My heart breaks for him and his family.— 𝙾 𝚕 𝚎 𝚜 𝚒 𝚊 🤎🪐📜 (@olesia_michelle) September 24, 2021
According to the LaSalle County Coroner, his body was found "floating near the south bank of the Illinois River approximately ¼ mile east of the Illinois Rt. 251 Bridge."
Day's parents also told NBC Chicago that before the body was confirmed as their son, they gave them DNA to aid them.
"However what I was told is that the crime lab does not have the solution that they need to process the DNA. I'm supposed to find out today if they're going to be able to get the solution because it's on backorder."
The LaSalle County Coroner's office has said in a statement that was made public on Twitter...
"Currently the cause of death is unknown, pending further investigation, and toxicology testing."
Upon hearing the news of their son, the Day family said in a statement as per NBC Chicago: "Our hearts are broken."
"We ask that you continue to pray for our family during what will be very hard days ahead. Throughout these 30 days, our very first concern was finding Jelani, and now we need to find out #WhatHappenedToJelaniDay. At this moment there are more questions than answers surrounding Jelani's disappearance and death, and that is where we will focus our energy. As of this moment, we do not know what happened to Jelani and we will not stop until we do."
Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. Rest in peace Jelani Day.