KEY POINTS

  • Jelani Day was last seen on Aug. 24 on the Illinois State campus 
  • Results of DNA tests and dental identification confirmed it was Jelani's body
  • Authorities are yet to determine the cause of death

A body found earlier this month in the Illinois River was identified to be that of missing student Jelani Day, the LaSalle County Coroner's Office confirmed Thursday.

The authorities' confirmation came a day after the 25-year-old man's mother complained the officials were allocating more resources to the Gabby Petito case.

Jelani was last seen on Aug. 24 on the Illinois State University campus in Normal. He was reported missing on Aug. 25, and a day later his car was found in the city of Peru, about 60 miles north of where he was last spotted. On Sept. 4, the police retrieved the body from the Illinois River, and ran DNA tests and dental identification to confirm if the body was that of Jelani. 

Authorities said they are still trying to determine the cause of death for Jelani, the Pantagraph reported.

“There are no words to clearly communicate our devastation,” his family said in a statement to Chicago ABC affiliate WLS. “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.”

This comes just a day after Carmen Day, Jelani’s mother, said she was frustrated by the lack of resources used for her son's case after witnessing the nationwide attention given to the death of Gabby Petito.

“Since they found that unidentified body, it doesn’t seem to me that they are pushing to continue to look for my son,” Carmen told the authorities. “I understand that there are other crimes that they have to investigate, but it seems like I only have this one detective and I understand he has a life outside of his work. But once he stops, does that mean we stop looking for my son?” 

Carmen added she couldn't help but feel a “lack of enthusiasm” around her son’s case.

Petito's case has caused a nationwide stir as the police currently continue to search for her boyfriend. The woman's body was found Sunday inside a park the couple had visited. Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie had been travelling for several weeks before he returned home to Florida alone in their white van on Sept. 1. Laundrie did not contact the police or the Petito family on his return. Later, Petito's family reported her missing. 

police-car-2946429_1920 Representation. Police. Photo: Pixabay